Finally, a dose of positive news for the Fish.
Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton hasn’t appeared in a game since September 16 and is not in action Tuesday evening because of an intercostal muscle strain, but the 22-year-old outfielder told Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post that he is “optimistic” that he’ll be able to return to the lineup Wednesday.
Stanton is hitting .283/.354/.595 with 34 home runs and 84 RBI through 117 games played this season. His OPS of .949 ranks fourth in the majors — tied with American League MVP hopeful Mike Trout.
Miami entered play Tuesday with a 66-87 record, ranking fifth in the five-team AL East.
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.