Matt Garza did some throwing yesterday for the first time since being shut down in mid-July with a stress reaction in his elbow, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.
Garza announced via Twitter that he “felt great.”
Prior to the injury Garza was rumored to be on the trading block and for a while the Cubs held out hope that he could return in time to make an August waiver deal possible, but he never made any real progress.
That also makes it tough for the Cubs to trade Garza this offseason, whereas a healthy Garza with one year of arbitration eligibility remaining before hitting the open market as a free agent next winter would have been a hot commodity.
In two seasons with the Cubs the 29-year-old right-hander has a 3.52 ERA and 293 strikeouts in 302 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.