Coco Crisp, Jhonny Peralta

Athletics lose Coco Crisp, Yoenis Cespedes to injury in extras

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The A’s lost two outfielders to injury Friday when Coco Crisp departed with a strained left groin and Yoenis Cespedes came out for a pinch-hitter with a left hand injury.

X-rays were negative on Cespedes’ hand, CSNBayArea.com’s Casey Pratt reports.

Cespedes was injured on an awkward slide into second while attempting a steal in the eighth. While it didn’t look good at the time, he was able to stay in to play defense. He was then removed for a pinch-hitter in the 11th when his spot in the order came up.

The departures forced the A’s to shuffle their lineup and move designated hitter Chris Young into the outfield. That put reliever Jerry Blevins in the cleanup spot to begin the 12th inning in the game against the Tigers. Fortunately for the A’s, the pitcher’s spot never came up: Josh Donaldson homered in the bottom of the inning to give the team a 4-3 win.

Crisp’s injury comes at a bad time for him: he’s been one of the AL’s best players so far, hitting .333 with four homers, five doubles and a league-high 14 runs scored.

Still, the A’s are well set up to lose an outfielder, what with Young available to play center regularly. It’d hurt more if two went down, but even then, they’d be able to play Seth Smith and Brandon Moss in left whenever they chose. Also, they have two red-hot outfielders at Triple-A Sacramento awaiting opportunities; Michael Taylor is hitting .410 with three homers and 11 RBI for the River Cats, while teammate Shane Peterson has a .440/.588/.600 line in eight games.

Report: Royals and Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals and the American League rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the National League in the 2nd inning of the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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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.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
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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.