Josh Geer

Josh Geer returns to mound after overcoming skin cancer

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Josh Geer, who made 22 starts for the Padres between 2008 and ’09, is back competing for a job with San Diego this spring after missing most of last season following surgery to deal with skin cancer.

MLB.com has the story.

After making two Triple-A starts, Geer was diagnosed with Stage III melanoma last April. Surgery to remove lymph nodes followed, leaving him with 25 staples in his neck and a lengthy rehabilitation. He has been cancer-free since the surgery.

“It was a long year this last year, but I’m right on schedule now and with everything behind me,” Geer said. “I’m past it all and looking ahead to the future.”

Geer went 3-8 with a 5.28 ERA in 129 2/3 innings for the Padres in his two major league seasons. After all of the missed time, the 28-year-old doesn’t have a realistic chance of breaking camp with the team this spring. He could be part of the Triple-A rotation, though. Regardless, he’s just happy to be around and competing.

“You look at life differently,” he said. “I’m very fortunate. I’m very blessed in many ways.”

Report: Royals and Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals and the American League rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the National League in the 2nd inning of the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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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.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
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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.