Dan Haren

Struggling Dan Haren to have next turn skipped

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It’s not hard to see why the Angels aren’t winning. Here’s how their rotation has fared since the All-Star break:

Jered Weaver: 5-1, 2.83 ERA
Dan Haren: 2-2, 5.04 ERA
Ervin Santana: 2-1, 5.06 ERA
Zack Greinke: 1-1, 5.54 ERA (since being acquired)
C.J. Wilson: 0-4, 5.61 ERA

Besides Kevin Jepsen, all of the relievers have ERAs over 5.00, too.

In light of his recent struggles, the Angels have decided to skip Haren’s next turn in the rotation. He actually pitched well in his first three starts after the break, only to give up 12 runs — 10 earned — in seven innings in his last two starts.

On Thursday, Haren surrendered seven hits, two of them homers, in 3 1/3 innings versus a Rays lineup that had gone 27 up and 27 down against Felix Hernandez the day before.

Haren’s troublesome back appears to be playing a role here, though he says it’s not as bad as it was earlier this season. The plan is for him to rejoin the rotation next Saturday against the Tigers. The Angels have Monday off, so they won’t need to replace him.

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.