Ryan Madson has basically been “two weeks” away from returning since February, but setbacks with his surgically repaired elbow have reset his timetable multiple times.
He’s once again making progress, throwing a 40-pitch bullpen session Tuesday “with conviction, with extension, and without one bit of pain.” Seriously, that’s the quote he gave to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
DiGiovanna reports that Madson will throw again Friday and, barring another setback, is now aiming to join the Angels’ bullpen by May 1. If/when he does return it won’t be in the closer role, which was the Angels’ plan for Madson initially after signing him. That job is now Ernesto Frieri’s until either he falters or Madson forces his way into the picture by actually pitching well.
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.