Jason Giambi made the Indians out of spring training, but began the season on the disabled list with a strained lower back.
After some roster shuffling–including sending Carlos Carrasco back to Triple-A–the Indians have activated Giambi from the DL.
Giambi was signed to be a bench bat and at age 42 he’s not exactly suited for regular playing time anyway, but if Drew Stubbs continues to struggle the Indians could get Giambi into the lineup a few times per week by shifting some guys around. Giambi hasn’t had more than 225 plate appearances in a season since 2009, but he posted a .370 on-base percentage and .444 slugging percentage from 2010-2012.
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.