The Jays should have their closer on Opening Day.
According to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com, righty Casey Janssen made it through a one-inning appearance in a minor league game on Wednesday without experiencing any discomfort in his surgically-repaired shoulder. He has been cleared to make his Grapefruit League debut on Friday against the Red Sox and he should be a go for the start of the regular season if everything goes well from here on out.
Janssen registered an excellent 2.54 ERA, 0.86 WHIP and 67/11 K/BB ratio across 63 2/3 innings last summer. The 31-year-old has a 3.60 career ERA and his K/9 has been on the rise for six consecutive seasons.
If something goes wrong for Janssen over these next 12 days, Sergio Santos will act as closer.
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.