Indians reliever Vinnie Pestano started out well enough last season, but by late April he had lingerng elbow soreness, hit the disabled list and never was truly right all season. He finished with an ERA of 4.08 and dramatically increased walk and hit rates while pitching in only 37 games.
Yesterday Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said Pestano’s troubles began when he suffered an injury to his elbow during last year’s World Baseball Classic. From Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer:
“I think some of that WBC injury really trained his arm to do something different than he’s done in the past,” said Callaway. “The reason Vinnie was so good in the past, is that he has unorthodox mechanics. When he had a little bit of an injury in the WBC, he started throwing like a normal person, which isn’t good. I told him at the end of the year, I’ve never told anybody to have bad mechanics.”
No one with the team had previously linked Pestano’s injury or troubles with the WBC before yesterday.
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.