Barry Zito

Barry Zito notches first shutout since 2003 versus Rockies

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Barry Zito couldn’t get anyone out in an exhibition season that saw him give up 17 runs and 32 hits in 19 1/3 innings and ditch his experimental windup. The Rockies, though, were frustrated by him all day Monday.

Zito pitched his first shutout since 2003, allowing just four hits and walking none, in a 7-0 victory for the Giants.

Zito’s gem followed up a weekend in which the Giants were swept by the Diamondbacks, with Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain combining to give up 14 runs in 15 1/3 innings.

Zito completed just two games in his first five years with the Giants. His last shutout came in his fourth or seven years with the A’s. He had four career shutouts before turning into more of a six- and seven-inning pitcher beginning with the 2004 season. He went 3-4 with a 5.87 ERA in nine starts and four relief appearances for San Francisco last year.

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.