A scary story after another big win for the Orioles. The team charter experienced a small fire on the flight to St. Pete tonight and was forced to make an emergency landing in Jacksonville. MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports that the team is currently at the Jacksonville airport while the plane is being inspected.
No word yet on how the fire originated, what with Kevin Gregg having been released, but one assumes Jim Johnson put it out.
The Orioles are traveling to St. Petersburg to face the Rays in a three-game series beginning Monday. At 92-67, Baltimore is tied with the Yankees atop the AL East.
Update: Incredibly enough, the Orioles’ official Twitter account posted this during the game earlier this afternoon (hat tip to Yahoo’s Jeff Passan).
Update 2: The Orioles were able to get back into air after being grounded for about an hour. They learned during the second leg of their flight that they’d be going to the postseason, courtesy of the Rangers’ win over the Angels.
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.