While Alex Rodriguez could be suspended by MLB any day now for his alleged connections to Biogenesis, his recovery from a quad strain marches on.
According to Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger, the Yankees just announced that Rodriguez is scheduled to play minor league rehab games with Double-A Trenton on Friday and Saturday. The 38-year-old was cleared for game action after making it through a simulated game earlier today with no issues.
Of course, just because Rodriguez is ready to restart his rehab assignment doesn’t mean that it will actually happen, as word is that an announcement on Biogenesis suspensions could come down as soon as tomorrow. Meanwhile, there are conflicting reports about whether Rodriguez is willing to cut a deal with MLB or try to fight a suspension through an appeal. We have even heard that Bud Selig could use the “best interests of the game” clause to suspend Rodriguez, which would keep him off the field if he appeals. Fortunately, it looks like there will finally be some clarity on the situation soon enough.
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.