Bryce Harper sat out Saturday and Sunday due to lingering soreness in his left knee caused by his collision with the right field fence at Dodger Stadium last Monday, but Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that he’s back in the starting lineup for tonight’s series opener against the Giants.
Harper was all banged up after the collision, as he needed stitches in his chin and dealt with nausea, as well as soreness in his knee, shoulder, and rib cage. However, the 20-year-old outfielder was able to return to action as a pinch-hitter last Wednesday. He was in the lineup for back-to-back days on Thursday and Friday before sitting out the rest of the weekend.
Harper is batting .297/.393/.617 with 11 home runs, 22 RBI and a 1.011 OPS in 39 games this season. The second-place Nationals are hoping he’s back in the lineup to stay.
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.