Finally a dose of positive news for the Nationals.
According to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, right-hander Doug Fister played catch Sunday for the first time since suffering a lat strain on March 27.
“No pain,” reported pitching coach Steve McCatty.
Fister is basically starting over after being interrupted in Nationals camp this spring by both the lat strain and elbow inflammation, so he will need at least a month to get himself prepared for major league action. That points to an early-to-mid May return.
The 30-year-old right-hander was traded to the Nationals this winter from the Tigers in exchange for utility infielder Steve Lombardozzi and left-handed pitchers Ian Krol and Robbie Ray.
Fister posted a 3.67 ERA and 157 strikeouts in 208 2/3 innings last season for Detroit.
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.