Untimely development here for the Rays, who have a half-game hold on the top spot in the crowded and ever-changing American League Wild Card race.
Evan Longoria has been scratched from the lineup for Sunday’s game against the Orioles due to flu-like symptoms, as first reported by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Topkin says Longoria “hasn’t been feeling well for a few days,” which hopefully means that he is about done battling this illness.
Kelly Johnson will start at third place in his place.
Longoria, 27, is hitting .263/.340/.485 with 29 home runs, 36 doubles and 77 RBI in 152 games this season for the Rays.
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.