Hiroki Kuroda was forced to leave his season debut last night after he took a line drive off his right middle finger, but fortunately for the Yankees, X-rays didn’t show a fracture. However, his status for his next start is up in the air.
According to Matt Ehalt of ESPN New York, Kuroda acknowledged today that while he doesn’t feel “normal” and is still experiencing a “little discomfort,” but he plans to test the finger by throwing a bullpen session tomorrow. If all goes well, he’ll be cleared to make his next scheduled start Monday against the Indians.
“The bottom line is I’m going to try to make my next start,” Kuroda said.
The Yankees are already using David Phelps in the rotation since Phil Hughes is on the disabled list with a bulging disk in his back, so they could have to turn to Adam Warren for a spot-start if Kuroda isn’t ready. Warren allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings in relief of Kuroda last night, so he would be stretched out for the potential assignment.
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.