Michael Pineda has a 2.82 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 22/10 K/BB ratio in 22 1/3 innings since he was cleared last month to begin a minor league rehab assignment. But the Yankees aren’t enticed yet.
According to Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger, there’s a strong possibility that Pineda will be optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre instead of begin activated when his 30-day rehab assignment window officially comes to a close on Monday. That’s mostly because Ivan Nova is doing well as the No. 5 starter, but it is also because the Yankees can secure an extra year of team control on Pineda by optioning him to the minor leagues and keeping him there for at least 20 days.
Pineda, 24, posted a 3.74 ERA, 1.10 WHIP and 9.1 K/9 in 171 innings with the Mariners in 2011. He was traded to New York that offseason along with Jose Campos for Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi.
Pineda has not pitched in a game for the Yankees since that deal because he developed shoulder issues during his first spring training with the Yankees and eventual needed a major surgical procedure.
UPDATE, 4:37 p.m. ET: Pineda has officially been optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, according to Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger. He should be called up at the end of this month.
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.