Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis just can’t seem to stay healthy. MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli reports that Markakis will get an MRI on his bothersome neck on Monday.
“Just to be on the safe side on Monday,” manager Buck Showalter said of Markakis, who last played March 1 and was improving until reaggravating the area on Thursday. “Monday or Tuesday. Think it’s Monday.”
Markakis was scratched from Sunday’s lineup when he reported having a neck spasm that morning upon arriving at the team’s facility.
2012 marked the first season in the 29-year-old’s career in which he didn’t play in at least 140 games. He played in 104, posting a .298/.363/.471 line. However, his 2012 was plagued with injuries as Markakis needed three different surgeries: his abdomen in January, his wrist in June, and his thumb in September.
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.