10:05 p.m. EDT update: Nope, no promotion. Rizzo left Triple-A Iowa’s game with a sore right wrist, according to CSNChicago.com’s Patrick Mooney.
The Cubs could be ready to pull the trigger on a big move following a humiliating sweep at the hands of the Pirates. CSNChicago.com states that Anthony Rizzo was pulled from Triple-A Iowa’s game Sunday for a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning, and no injury was reported.
Of course, this being a minor league game, Rizzo could still be injured and no one is willing to say quite yet. Or it could even be a punitive benching.
One thing is for sure: the Cubs, losers of 12 in a row, are in desperate need of a lift. And Rizzo would seem to be the obvious candidate to provide it. The 22-year-old has hit .354/.416/.713 with 17 homers and 44 RBI in 178 at-bats for Iowa this season.
A Rizzo promotion would likely put Bryan LaHair in left field, turning Alfonso Soriano into a very expensive and likely unhappy fourth outfielder.
Still, this might be much ado about nothing. A source told David Kaplan that the Cubs still aren’t quite ready to make the Rizzo move yet.
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.