Seven days after announcing that they were shifting him from the rotation into the closer’s role, the White Sox revealed today that Chris Sale will start Saturday’s game against the Royals.
The original move was made by the White Sox field staff, but Sale lobbied GM Ken Williams to remain in the rotation and will get his way.
Williams said that an MRI on Sale’s elbow came back “clean and pristine” but that he’ll continue to be monitored. Sale will be expected to be honest about the state of his arm going forward. It was concerns about his elbow and his ability to hold up as a starter that prompted last week’s switch.
Sale was supposed to replace Hector Santiago as the White Sox closer, but now that appears to be Addison Reed’s job. It probably should have been Reed’s role all along anyway.
Sale is 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA in five starts this season. He made one relief appearance after the move, giving up an unearned run in the eighth inning Tuesday and getting charged with a blown save.
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.