Any hope Indians fans had of Ubaldo Jimenez turning things around following a brutal 2012 season has already vanished, as Jimenez has been even worse so far this year.
He’s coughed up seven runs in each of his last two starts and failed to make it out of the second inning yesterday against the Red Sox, walking five of the 12 batters he faced. Jimenez now has a 5.60 ERA in 45 starts for the Indians dating back to mid-2011, when they acquired him from the Rockies.
Jimenez insisted after yesterday’s clunker that he’s not hurt, saying: “I felt really good,. I felt strong. The velocity was there. I just couldn’t control it in that inning.” His average fastball clocked in at 93.5 miles per hour, which was up from his previous two starts this season, but that’s still a far cry from his average of 96.1 miles per hour in 2009 and 2010.
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.