UPDATE: So much for that. Fielder was just scratched from the lineup again.
Prince Fielder’s consecutive games played streak ended up 547 over the weekend when he missed back-to-back games with a herniated disk in his neck, but the Rangers first baseman is back in the lineup tonight against the Mariners.
T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that Fielder “received a nerve-blocking injection to help the problem” and he’ll actually play designated hitter rather than first base in his first game back to lessen the risk of aggravating the injury.
Fielder has had a huge power drought in his first season in Texas, managing just three homers and a .360 slugging percentage through 42 games. He’s also hitting just .247 and despite more walks (25) than strikeouts (24) his .360 on-base percentage is well below his career norms.
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.