Instead of making his big-league debut this year Mariners pitching prospect and former No. 2 overall pick Danny Hultzen missed most of the season with a shoulder injury and now he’ll likely miss all of next season too.
Hultzen underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff and labrum damage in his shoulder, which is basically the worst-case scenario for a pitcher. He entered this season ranked as a top-30 prospect by Baseball America and MLB.com, but made just six starts before being shut down at Triple-A.
Initially the Mariners described his shoulder problems as “minor” but last week general manager Jack Zduriencik encouraged Hultzen to see Dr. Andrews for a second opinion because the team doctor “doesn’t like what he sees.”
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.