Shaun Marcum was shut down on Monday after feeling lingering soreness in his right shoulder, but he’s close to getting back on a mound after long-tossing for a third straight day.
According to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com, Brewers’ manager Ron Roenicke said this afternoon that Marcum is expected to throw a bullpen session tomorrow or Monday.
Marcum dealt with a similar shoulder issue last spring, but managed to start the season on time and posted an excellent 2.21 ERA and 34/11 K/BB ratio over six April starts. Roenicke admits that Marcum will be cutting it close again this spring, but he hasn’t ruled him out for the start of the season.
“I talked to him this morning, and he thought, timing-wise, he is actually ahead of where he was last year,” Roenicke said. “Last year, it was close. We didn’t know if he was going to be ready at the beginning [of the season] or not. I think he’ll probably be in the same boat this year.”
The current plan calls for Marcum to start the fourth game of the season on April 9 against the Cubs. If he doesn’t get fully stretched out in time, right-hander Marco Estrada would likely take his place for the first turn through the starting rotation.
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.