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Impostor crashes the Braves alumni event

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John Sullivan was a Braves’ reliever in the late 70s and the Braves bullpen coach during Bobby Cox’s first stint as Braves manager. He left the team when Cox did in 1981.

John Sullivan was at the Braves alumni event/old timers softball game this past weekend. It was not, however, the correct John Sullivan. Indeed, it was an impostor. And not a very good one.

One who, when asked when he played for the Braves said, “1986 or 1987, I’m not sure.” And who was out of shape even for a guy in his 50s and couldn’t even really swing a softball bat. The guy attended John Smoltz’s number retirement ceremony and a dinner and signed autographs for fans and everything before Bobby Cox, Andy Ashby, Jose Alvarez and others figured him out and confronted him.

“He got most of our cell phone numbers,” said Alvarez, who now resides in Greenville, S.C. “He invited me to appear in a golf tournament.”

So close. But if he thought more about his scam he could have pulled it off, actually. Indeed, all a guy with no apparent baseball ability whatsoever needs to do to make people think he played for the 1986-87 Braves would be to claim he was Andres Thomas.

(Thanks to Tim’s Neighbor for the heads up)

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.