The Blue Jays trailed the Orioles 5-2 entering the bottom of the ninth inning in today’s series finale against the Orioles, but they were able to put together a rally against closer Jim Johnson. Following an RBI single by J.P. Arencibia and an RBI ground out by Mark DeRosa, Munenori Kawasaki hit a two-out, two-run, walk-off RBI double to center field to left-center.
Kawasaki has already made a name for himself as one of the more exuberant personalities in baseball, but took it even further with one of the best post-game interviews you’ll see.
The Jays’ shortstop has not hit much this year, carrying a .627 OPS into today’s game, but he has played strong defense in the absence of Jose Reyes.
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.