Neftali Feliz’s recovery from Tommy John elbow surgery has moved to Triple-A, where the Rangers right-hander struggled yesterday in his first rehab appearance for Round Rock.
Feliz threw just 11 of 22 pitches for strikes, walking two and allowing a single before exiting with the bases loaded.
Todd Willis of ESPN Dallas reports that Feliz “struggled to command his pitches” and “his changeup also didn’t appear to be sharp.” However, his fastball was clocked at 92-93 miles per hour and that’s close enough to his pre-surgery velocity to be encouraged this early in the rehab process.
Texas has already mapped out his next four appearances between now and a week from Saturday, so Feliz won’t be rushed back to the majors.
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.