Drew Stubbs began a minor league rehab assignment last night with Class A Dayton as he continues to make his way back from a strained left oblique.
Stubbs, who has been sidelined since June 5, went 0-for-2 and played five innings in center field. The speedy 27-year-old later told Mark Clements of MLB.com that he didn’t feel any discomfort with the oblique.
“No soreness, no pain during the game or anything like that,” Stubbs said. “Taking two weeks off, from any game action, you never know how you’re going to feel stepping in and getting back in the flow of the game. I felt really comfortable, like I haven’t really missed a beat.”
The current plan is for Stubbs to play seven innings today and a full nine-inning game tomorrow before coming off the disabled list for Monday’s game against the Brewers.
Stubbs is hitting .235/.300/.373 with seven home runs, 18 RBI, 13 stolen bases and a .673 OPS over 53 games this season. Chris Heisey is currently holding down starting center field duties, but he’ll move back into a platoon with Ryan Ludwick in left field once Stubbs returns.
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.