kerry wood and mark prior

Mark Prior is pitching well at Triple-A for the Red Sox

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Mark Prior’s latest comeback has brought him to Triple-A for the Red Sox’s affiliate and, so far at least, he’s been healthy and effective.

We’re only talking about three appearances, of course, but Prior has thrown 4.2 innings with a 0.00 ERA and 10 strikeouts.

His velocity, while not where it was before all the injuries, has reportedly been pretty solid facing a handful of hitters per outing as a reliever and despite seemingly being around forever Prior is still just 31 years old.

Prior has reached the point in his career where it doesn’t really make any logical sense to get excited about his performance or optimistic about him getting back to the majors, but … well, 10 strikeouts in 4.2 innings is worth a mention for a guy baseball fans should be rooting for.

Through age 24 he had a 3.24 ERA and 719 strikeouts in 613 innings. That was in 2005. He struggled in 2006, going 1-6 with a 7.21 ERA, and hasn’t throwing a major-league pitch since.

Report: Royals and Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals and the American League rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the National League in the 2nd inning of the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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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.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
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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.