Some bad news this morning out of Pirates camp.
According to beat writer Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, right-handed starter Jeff Karstens has been scratched from his scheduled Grapefruit League outing Sunday against the Orioles because of “continuing shoulder discomfort.”
Karstens reported feeling soreness in his right shoulder on February 19 — after one of his first throwing sessions of the spring. It was manageable for a while but is now causing him great discomfort. He will open the 2013 regular season on the 15-day disabled list, without a mapped-out return timetable.
Karstens posted a 3.97 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 90 2/3 innings last season while fighting hip and shoulder injuries. Jeff Locke, Jonathan Sanchez, Kyle McPherson and Jeanmar Gomez are fighting for his spot.
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.