Reds prospect Billy Hamilton–also known as the fastest man in baseball–is making his first career start tonight after spending the past two weeks coming off the bench.
Hamilton is playing center field and batting ninth against the Astros, with the Reds’ season-long center field, Shin-Soo Choo, shifting to left field.
Through his first two weeks in the majors Hamilton has five stolen bases compared to just three at-bats, but his tremendous range in the outfield could come in handy for the Reds and prior to struggling at Triple-A this season he’d shown quite a bit of promise offensively. And of course he swiped 75 bases in 123 games this year after breaking the all-time record with 155 steals in 132 games last year.
Here’s hoping the Astros hit a bunch of fly balls into the gaps and Hamilton finds a way to get on base. Should be fun to watch.
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.