Last year a scandal erupted in Japanese baseball when NPB commissioner Ryozo Kato admitted that the league had doctored the baseballs in order to generate more offense. It was so bad that he ended up resigning in September.
You can bet your bippy that no one in Japan is gonna repeat THAT blunder again:
The commissioner of Japanese baseball has apologized after random tests showed the official ball is livelier than it should be.
The tests revealed that balls used at six stadiums on March 29 were livelier than they should have been.
Nippon Professional Baseball commissioner Katsuhiko Kumazaki says, “I want to apologize for causing a commotion.”
Kind of embarrassing that, for the second year in a row, the Japanese baseball commissioner is apologizing for the same thing. On the bright side, that’s two more apologies than Bud Selig has ever offered.
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.