Hiroki Kuroda was masterful in the Yankees’ home opener yesterday, but Phil Hughes wasn’t anywhere near as efficient this afternoon.
Hughes was chased early after the Angels touched him up for six runs on eight hits over just 3 1/3 innings. The big blows came courtesy of a two-run homer by Chris Iannetta in the top of the second inning and a three-run blast by Howie Kendrick in the fourth. Albert Pujols also mixed in an RBI double.
Hughes threw 52 out of 84 pitches for strikes while fanning six and walking a pair. David Phelps, who struck out four over 2 1/3 hitless innings in an extra-inning win over the Orioles on Tuesday, has taken over in relief and will try to keep the Yankees in this thing.
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.