It went undisclosed throughout the spring and the first month and a half of the season, but the Rangers revealed Monday that left-hander Michael Kirkman was disagnosed with skin cancer back in January.
According to the release, which certainly must have come with Kirkman’s permission, the 25-year-0ld is currently undergoing regular treatment in Round Rock and is being continually monitored by his doctors in both Florida and Texas. The prognosis is for a full recovery.
Kirkman has been pitching despite the cancer, going 2-1 with a 6.68 ERA in six starts and five relief appearances for Triple-A Round Rock. He served stints in the majors with Texas in 2010 and ’11, going 1-1 with a 4.74 ERA in 29 relief appearances. Kirkman has the stuff to start in the majors if he can get better about pounding the strike zone. The Rangers will probably give him another look as a reliever later this year.
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.