UPDATE: It turns out it wasn’t all good news for Francisco. Mets assistant general manager John Ricco told Rubin that the veteran reliever was actually diagnosed with a mild strain of the flexor pronator in his right elbow. Either way, he’s going to rest for 72 hours before attempting to throw again.
6:32 PM: Frank Francisco was nearing a return from the disabled list before he was scratched from a bullpen session Saturday with renewed soreness in his surgically-repaired right elbow, but he received some good news today.
According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Mets manager Terry Collins said that doctors did not find any structural damage in Francisco’s elbow. The plan calls for him to rest for a few days before he’ll attempt to resume throwing. Still, the timeline for his return to the Mets’ bullpen remains up in the air, which may or may not be a good thing depending on who you ask.
Francisco posted a career-high 5.53 ERA in 48 appearances last season as the Mets’ closer and had a bone spur removed from his elbow in December. The 33-year-old right-hander is making $6.5 million this season. Bobby Parnell has emerged as the team’s closer during his absence, though he has only received five save chances thus far.
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.