The Royals announced this evening that outfielder Lorenzo Cain has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left groin strain. The club has called up left-hander Justin Marks from Triple-A Omaha to replace him on the active roster, which means that Kansas City is now carrying 13 pitchers.
Cain suffered the injury during last night’s win over the Astros. Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports that he was diagnosed with a Grade 1 strain, which is the least severe, and that he hopes to return when he’s eligible in two weeks.
Injuries have been an ongoing storyline with Cain during his career. Acquired from the Brewers in the Zack Greinke deal, the 28-year-old plays excellent defense in center field and has shown some ability on offense, but he has has yet to play more than 115 games in a season. The speedy Jarrod Dyson is making the start in center field tonight and should see increased playing time during his absence.
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.