Josh Lueke

Rays designate reliever Josh Lueke for assignment, recall Kirby Yates

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Rays reliever Josh Lueke served up a two-run home run to Marcell Ozuna Friday night’s game, extending the Marlins’ lead from three runs to five runs. That was the last straw for the Rays with Lueke. Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the club has designated the right-hander for assignment and recalled Kirby Yates from Triple-A Durham.

Yates, 27, posted an impressive 0.36 ERA with a 35/9 K/BB ratio in 25 innings at Triple-A.

Lueke was ineffective on the mound. He posted a 5.64 ERA, allowing seven home runs in only 30 1/3 innings of work, and he had trouble missing bats. Overall, Lueke has a 6.16 ERA in 87 2/3 innings in his career.

Lueke also continued to be a lightning rod for criticism surrounding an incident during his minor league career in which he was charged with raping a woman in Bakersfield, California. Lueke lied to the police by saying he had no contact with the victim, then later pled down to lesser charges.

Report: Royals and Eric Hosmer have discussed a long-term contract extension

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 12:  Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals and the American League rounds the bases after hitting a home run against the National League in the 2nd inning of the 87th Annual MLB All-Star Game at PETCO Park on July 12, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
Denis Poroy/Getty Images
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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.

Yankees sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

PHOENIX, AZ - AUGUST 17:  Jonathon Niese #49 of the New York Mets delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on August 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
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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.