Drew Cumberland

Drew Cumberland forced back into retirement

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Sad news to pass along from Padres’ camp.

Padres’ vice president of player development and international scouting Randy Smith told Corey Brock of MLB.com that prospect infielder Drew Cumberland has ended his comeback attempt.

Cumberland retired for the first time last summer after being diagnosed with bilateral vestibulopathy, a rare inner-ear condition which can cause blurred vision, dizziness and headaches. The 23-year-old has a history of concussions dating back to before he was a supplemental first-round pick of the Padres back in 2007. He was cleared to resume his career after visiting with concussion specialists in November, but his symptoms resurfaced this spring.

“I talked to Cumby [Sunday] and he said that his symptoms had returned and he just wasn’t going to be able to continue,” said Randy Smith, the Padres’ vice president of player development and international scouting.

“I told him to take as much time as he needs … but I don’t think that the outcome is going to change.”

Cumberland was ranked as the organization’s No. 9 prospect by Baseball America last offseason after batting .316/.380/.430 over his first four professional seasons. It’s a shame his career is over at such a young age, but hopefully his condition eventually improves to the point where he can have some quality of life again.

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.