Making his first start since April 6, Red Sox starter John Lackey limited the Astros to one run over six innings, scattering five hits and two walks while striking out four. The outing gave Lackey his first win since August 23, 2011 against the Rangers.
Lackey had been on the disabled list with a right biceps strain. Now healthy, the right-hander was able to throw his fastball consistently in the low 90’s and hit as high as 94 MPH. Lackey’s health is a concern for the Red Sox as he missed the entire 2012 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Though his outing today is comforting, the Astros aren’t exactly a powerhouse offense as they barely average four runs per game (4.04, fifth-worst in the AL). Lackey’s real test will come on Saturday when he faces the Rangers on the road.
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.