Back problems had Roy Oswalt contemplating retirement before he eventually decided to continue pitching and signed with the Rangers, but now he’ll miss at least one start with lower back soreness.
Oswalt was scheduled to start today versus the Red Sox, but instead he’ll be examined by doctors in Houston and Scott Feldman will take his place in the rotation.
For now the Rangers are hopeful that Oswalt will avoid the disabled list and general manager Jon Daniels told Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas that the team was prepared for this situation when they signed the 34-year-old:
Prior to signing Roy he expressed to us what exactly is happening now. Sometimes this acts up with his lower back. If it’s the same thing he’s had in the past, and he expects it is, he believes he’ll make his next start. We’ve got to wait and see, but that’s our hope at this point.
Oswalt struggled initially upon joining the Rangers’ rotation, but has allowed just one run in back-to-back starts and his 25/6 K/BB ratio in 29 innings overall is very good.
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.