After dropping the appeal of his five-game suspension for plunking ex-teammate Troy Tulowitzki near the end of spring training Ubaldo Jimenez is scheduled to return to the mound Sunday against the Royals.
Jimenez was originally slated to start Saturday, but then Tuesday’s game versus the White Sox was rained out and because his suspension was five games rather than five days his return had to be pushed back.
Jimenez took a no-hitter into the seventh inning of his last start, settling for seven innings of two-run ball versus the Blue Jays, so the Indians will hope that a little extra time between starts won’t keep him from remaining on track after largely struggling since coming over in a midseason trade from the Rockies last year.
Overall in 12 starts for the Indians he has a 4.85 ERA and 65/30 K/BB ratio in 75 innings while showing decreased velocity, so even with the suspension behind him Jimenez will remain a big question mark until he strings together some strong outings.
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.