Earlier, Aaron Gleeman wrote about Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman starting a rehab assignment with Single-A Potomac. What wasn’t initially clear was how long it would take for Zimmerman to return to the Nats’ lineup. CSN Washington’s Mark Zuckerman provides us a goal and it’s a lot sooner than we would have anticipated: Tuesday.
Zuckerman writes that the Nationals’ coaches and manager Matt Williams could use Monday’s off-day to travel to Woodbridge and watch Zimmerman in person. If all goes well, he could be activated in time for Tuesday’s series opener with the Phillies.
Zimmerman broke his thumb in mid-April and was initially expected to be out four to six weeks. In the meantime, the team has explored using him not only at third base, but at first base and in the outfield as well, mitigating some of the day-to-day grind of being a third baseman.
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.