Stephen Strasburg showed great velocity in a four-inning outing Wednesday, but he gave up two homers and four runs to what had been a slumbering Braves offense.
Strasburg was taken deep twice on fastballs, first to the opposite way by Dan Uggla in the first inning and later on a laser from Jason Heyward in the fourth. He reached as high as 102 mph on the TV gun.
For all of the power behind his pitches, though, Strasburg ended up with just one strikeout. Too many thigh-high fastballs were the problem. He ended up allowing five hits and walking one.
The mediocre outing left Strasburg with an 8.00 ERA through nine innings this spring. The important thing is that he’s healthy, and it’s very encouraging that he’s throwing about as hard as ever. Still, maybe it’d be best not to expect too much too soon from him come April and May.
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.