John Danks took a big step in his recovery from August shoulder surgery, throwing seven innings at Double-A yesterday.
Danks allowed two runs on five hits and one walk, striking out one. He needed just 86 pitches to record 21 outs and Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports that Danks was working at 87-90 miles per hour with his fastball, topping out at 91 mph. During his career Danks has averaged 91 mph with his fastball, so that’s pretty close to normal.
He’s expected to make at least one more rehab start before potentially coming off the disabled list, but the White Sox rotation could definitely use Danks as soon as possible with Gavin Floyd hurt and Jake Peavy iffy due to back spasms.
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.