Matt Kemp remains on track to return from the disabled list when he’s first eligible Tuesday, but he’ll have to make it through a brief minor league rehab assignment first.
Baxter Holmes of the Los Angeles Times reports that Kemp is scheduled to play rehab games with Triple-A Albuquerque on Sunday and Monday. The 27-year-old received a platelet-rich plasma injection last week to accelerate the healing of his left hamstring and was seen sprinting and stretching on the field before last night’s game.
Kemp was batting .359/.446/.726 with 12 homers, 28 RBI and a 1.173 OPS over 139 plate appearances prior to begin placed on the disabled list. The Dodgers lost to the Astros 3-1 last night, but are 7-4 during Kemp’s absence and still own the National League’s best record at 30-15.
Juan Rivera is also expected to begin a rehab assignment with the Isotopes tomorrow as he works his way back from a ruptured hamstring tendon, but he’ll need more time in the minors than Kemp.
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.