New York Mets Photo Day

Johan Santana may or may not start Opening Day

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Mets manager Terry Collins implied earlier this month that he planned on Johan Santana starting Opening Day against the Braves on April 5, saying “in my mind, in my heart, he’ll be ready.” Or at least that’s what we thought he meant.

Collins clarified his comments yesterday, telling Andy Martino of the New York Daily News that he feels Santana will be with the team on Opening Day, but not necessarily as the starting pitcher. The rehabbing left-hander is being lined up for the season opener, but the team wants to leave the door open in case he needs extra rest.

“I have not decided who is pitching Opening Day,” Collins told The News on Friday. “Now, my point is, right now, as we get through spring training, we may have to make adjustments. If Johan is, ‘Hey, look, I’ll be ready,’ but maybe he needs to pitch game two or game three or game four, we will adjust.”

Santana allowed five runs — four earned — over 2 2/3 innings yesterday against the Tigers, but was regularly hitting 90-91 mph on the radar gun and didn’t have any issues with his surgically repaired shoulder. Heck, if someone told you a month ago that Santana would be healthy enough to start the season on the active roster, they would have been met with immediate skepticism. So the fact that this is even a story at this point is pretty encouraging.

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.