Interesting story brought to my attention from reader Troy. It’s from the Dominican newspaper Hoy. And because I forgot all that Spanish I knew 20 years ago, I’m using Google translate to read it.
But the upshot: Bautista spoke at a banquet the other night and noted that in the past two years — the two years which coincided with his tremendous uptick in homers — he has been given sixteen drug tests. In the two years before that he had three total. So I would guess that it’s safe to say that the random drug testing thing has been something less than random in his case.
Now, the real test: given how often Bautista has been tested, if he has 19 homers in late May, can random columnists resist the urge to write that “it’s impossible not to be suspicious” column once again? Or is there nothing that will stop that?
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.