Jason Castro was shut down earlier this week due to right knee discomfort and now Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports that he underwent a minor procedure today to have a cyst removed.
Castro fouled a ball off his knee on September 2 and had the cyst drained one day later, but he only appeared in two more games as a DH before being shut down. While his right knee has been a problem in the past, costing him the entire 2011 season, he is expected to be 100 percent for 2014.
Castro was a big bright spot for the rebuilding Astros this season, batting .276/.350/.485 with 18 home runs and 56 RBI. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow still has a lot of holes to fill before the team becomes a contender, but catcher shouldn’t be one of them.
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.