After the Angels’ Jered Weaver twice drilled Lorenzo Cain earlier in the game, the Royals apparently opted for a little retaliation Wednesday, with Luke Hochevar plunking Mike Trout on a 3-0 pitch in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Hochevar, who had already given up eight runs and was just about done for the day regardless, was immediately tossed by Bob Davidson after hitting Trout in the arm. Trout remained in the contest afterwards.
It was kind of an odd way for Hochevar to go about it if he did intend to hit Trout. He missed with two inside — but not all that much inside — fastballs earlier in the at-bat, and he then threw a slider low and away for ball three. The fourth pitch was a fastball sent right in the direction of Trout’s hip and would have hit him there if he hadn’t lowered his arm and took it there instead.
A five- or six-game suspension for Hochevar could be a possibility, though in general, it’s the intentional plunkings in higher-profile games that tend to draw the penalties. In giving up eight runs — six earned — in three-plus innings, Hochevar saw his ERA climb to 5.26 today. Weaver was removed after allowing two runs in five innings.
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.