Joe Maddon revealed yesterday that Kyle Farnsworth had “a little bit of a setback” with his elbow injury and likely would have been unavailable to pitch Saturday had the Rays needed a late lead closed out.
Instead they lost 8-6 and it was a moot point, but Farnsworth’s status remains up in the air with an injury that has bothered him since early September.
Maddon told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times that the Rays are hopeful Farnsworth could be available for today’s Game 3 in Tampa Bay, but added: “As we continue to move this forward, I just have to be careful with him.”
Not exactly encouraging words regarding a closer whose dependability in the playoffs would have been questioned healthy or not, so don’t be surprised if Maddon bypasses Farnsworth in favor of Joel Peralta or Wade Davis if the Rays take a small lead into the ninth inning.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension. However, Hosmer also indicated that he will head into free agency if a deal is not consummated by Opening Day.
Hosmer, 27, avoided arbitration with the Royals last month, agreeing to a $12.25 million salary for the 2017 season. He is one of four key Royals players who can become a free agent after the season along with Mike Moustakas, Alcides Escobar, and Lorenzo Cain. If Hosmer does reach free agency, he would arguably be the top free agent first baseman.
Hosmer finished the past season hitting .266/.328/.433 with 25 home runs and 104 RBI while making his first All-Star team.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.