Earlier this week Scott Rolen indicated that he’d prefer not to go on a minor-league rehab assignment before returning from the disabled list, but apparently the Reds have talked him into playing a few games at Triple-A.
John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Rolen will begin his rehab stint tomorrow and spend the weekend in Louisville, at which point the Reds will likely activate him from the DL if there hasn’t been a setback.
And that’s far from a sure thing, as Rolen has a lengthy history of shoulder problems that have derailed his career several times and hasn’t played since May 11. In fact, his latest shoulder injury was so bad and Rolen is so sick of dealing with the discomfort that there was initially some speculation that he might simply call it quits.
Instead he’ll do some rehab and give it one last try after hitting just .174 in 29 games before being shut down. Todd Frazier has a .900 OPS filling in at third base, so in theory at least Rolen shouldn’t be guaranteed playing time.
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.