Juan Rivera was initially expected to miss two months with a torn hamstring suffered on May 9, but the Dodgers outfielder/first baseman is so far ahead of schedule in his recovery that he’s hoping to come off the disabled list this weekend.
Rivera has already played two games on a minor-league rehab assignment and told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that he’d like to be back in the Dodgers’ lineup Friday versus the Rockies.
Or at least back on the roster, that is. Rivera’s injury opened the door for Bobby Abreu to emerge as a key part of the Dodgers’ lineup in left field and there may not be much more than a platoon role waiting for Rivera when he returns.
Abreu has hit .339 with a .908 OPS in 22 games for the Dodgers and being limited mostly to facing left-handed pitching is probably the best role for Rivera at this stage of his career anyway.
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.