UPDATE: X-rays came back negative and Santana is considered day-to-day.
9:31 PM: Carlos Santana was forced to exit today’s game against the Yankees in the ninth inning after he got crossed up on a pitch from his teammate Chris Perez and was struck on the left thumb. Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports that the preliminary diagnosis is a contusion, but there should be more clarity on his status after he goes for X-rays.
An extended absence would be a tough blow, as Santana is off to a fantastic start this season. The 27-year-old went 1-for-2 with two walks before exiting today and is hitting an even .500 (13-for-26) with two home runs, four doubles and five RBI through seven games.
Lou Marson replaced Santana in the ninth inning today, but he might not be back to 100 percent after he suffered a neck strain in a home plate collision with Rays’ outfielder Desmond Jennings on Saturday. The Indians may have to add another catcher, even if Santana’s injury is a day-to-day situation.
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.