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Tests rule out facial fractures for Max Stassi

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While Braves outfielder Jason Heyward had earlier surgery today to repair a fractured jaw, the news is more encouraging for Astros rookie catcher Max Stassi, who had a pitch deflect off his shoulder and hit him in the mouth last night against the Rangers.

Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle reports that Stassi stayed at the Medical Center of Arlington last night, during which CAT scan and X-rays showed no facial fractures. The 22-year-old was scheduled to travel to Houston today to undergo concussion tests, but the early signs are promising.

“We were relieved because looking at it live it seemed like it might be worse,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “He was fortunate that there’s no fracture. Obviously any time there’s a blow to the head you have to be careful.”

Stassi was called up by the Astros this week after batting .277/.333/.529 with 17 home runs and 60 RBI over 76 games this season with Double-A Corpus Christi. He is 2-for-6 through his first two games in the majors while the bases-loaded hit-by-pitch last night gave him his first career RBI. That’s probably not the way he dreamed it up.

Report: Royals and Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals and the American League rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the National League in the 2nd inning of the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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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.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
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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.