Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com is in Nationals camp in Viera, Florida, and he was on hand for Gio Gonzalez’s first in-person comments to the media since the Biogenesis story broke. His full story is here.
The upshot: Gonzalez was “stunned” and “shocked” that his name showed up in the records, but says he’s “very confident” he’ll be cleared by MLB of any wrongdoing and again denied any relationship with Biogenesis or Anthony Bosch. He said his father was a patient at Bosch’s weight loss clinic but that he was not and did not use any PEDs. As for how his name could have appeared, he speculated:
“My father already admitted that he was a patient there, a legitimate patient,” Gonzalez said. “And then after that, you know how my father is. All of South Florida, all of baseball knows that my father is the most proud father in baseball. Says hi, tells everybody about his son. That’s the best I can say. Other than that, I have no clue why my name was on that list, or on the notebook or anything.”
He said he has fully cooperated with MLB and is waiting, like all of us, to hear if anything else comes of it.
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.