It’ll be an all-hands-on-deck night in St. Louis.
According to beat writer Travis Sawchick of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said in his pregame press conference Wednesday that left-hander Francisco Liriano will be available out of the bullpen in Game 5 of the NLDS against the Cardinals. Liriano will either be brought in early if Game 5 starter Gerrit Cole runs into trouble or if the game goes to extra innings. Otherwise it will be the typical crew of relievers.
Liriano allowed just two earned runs on three hits over six innings in his Game 3 start against the Cardinals — a 5-3 victory for the Bucs. He posted a superb 3.02 ERA and 163/63 K/BB ratio across 161 innings during the 2013 regular season.
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.