Nick Swisher is back from the disabled list and in the Indians’ lineup for tonight’s game after missing the past two weeks with a hyperextended left knee. To make room on the roster for his return Jason Giambi is headed to the disabled list with left knee inflammation.
Swisher was struggling before the injury, hitting just .211 with three homers and a .631 OPS in 49 games as the Indians’ starting first baseman. His return could mean less playing time for Carlos Santana, because he had been playing first basem recently and hot-hitting Lonnie Chisenhall certainly isn’t going to lose starts at third base anytime soon.
Giambi is basically a player-coach at this point, logging a grand total of 52 plate appearances between disabled list stints. He hit .128 in that limited action after batting .182 for the Indians last season, but they apparently just love having him around.
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.