Joel Pineiro did not pitch last season and was last seen in the Majors in 2011, but the right-hander is on the comeback trail. MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports that Pineiro has been pitching in Puerto Rico during the off-season and he’ll make a start against a Cuban team on Tuesday.
“I have had 11 years in the big leagues, so I’m not complaining, but I’m not ready to shut it down,” he said. “I’m 35 and I told my wife this would be my last real push at it. I have four kids, my oldest is in middle school, but I still have the desire and love for the game.”
Pineiro is now 35 years old and struggled to miss bats in his last stint in the Majors in 2011 with the Angels. However, he had two decent seasons prior to that, and it wouldn’t be unheard of if he came back with a little left in the tank. In what seems to be the year of the comeback — Mark Mulder, for example, is attempting a comeback with the Angels after a five-year layoff — now is as good a time as ever for Pineiro to revive his playing career.
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.