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Luke Scott placed on disabled list with back injury

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The Rays announced late this afternoon that Luke Scott was placed on the disabled list with mid-back spasms.

Scott hasn’t played since last Friday due to the injury, so his DL-stint will be backdated. He told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that he expects to return when he is first eligible on June 24.

“I’ve been having really, really bad back spasms since Saturday,” Scott said. “I’ve been trying to get them to go away but they haven’t so far. We have a plan and we’ll keep to that plan. It’s a difficult situation, but we’ll have to make the most of it.”

Scott, who signed a one-year, $6 million deal with the Rays over the winter, is batting .220/.281/.424 with nine home runs, 35 RBI and a .704 OPS through 196 plate appearances this season. Hideki Matsui figures to get most of the at-bats out of the DH spot for now, although he’s hitting an even .200 (7-for-35) with two homers, a double and a .643 OPS over his first 11 games since being added to the major league roster.

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.