Tigers starter Max Scherzer entered his final start of the first half a sterling 13-0 with a 3.06 ERA. With a victory over the Rangers tonight, he could have improved to 14-0, matching Roger Clemens’ historic start in 1986. The Rangers, however, had other ideas.
Scherzer allowed three runs in the top of the third on an A.J. Pierzynski sacrifice fly and a Mitch Moreland two-run home run. After the Tigers eked out a run in the bottom of the fourth on a Hernan Perez RBI single, Pierzynski got it back with an RBI double in the top of the fifth. Scherzer lasted six innings, allowing eight hits and walking two while striking out six. He is now 13-1 with a 3.19 ERA, still quite good.
The Rangers added three more runs in the top of the ninth against Al Albuquerque as Nelson Cruz hit an RBI single and Adrian Beltre hit a two-run home run.Rangers starter Derek Holland on point, surrendering one run over seven innings. Joaquin Soria pitched a scoreless eighth and Neal Cotts pitched a scoreless ninth to nail down the 7-1 victory.
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.