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Brian McCann on New York: “I absolutely love it here”

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Braves first base coach Terry Pendleton told the New York Post earlier this week that he feels like Brian McCann — who’s struggled in his first year with the Yankees — will “never be comfortable” in New York because “New York is not Brian.”

McCann was asked about those comments before the Yankees’ game Tuesday evening against the Indians. ESPNNewYork.com has his response:

“I read the article. I disagree,” McCann said. “I absolutely love it here. I’ve got off to a slow start, but I absolutely love it here. It’s his opinion. That’s all I can say, it’s his opinion on it. I really haven’t noticed a big difference [between playing in New York and Atlanta]. It’s still baseball. It’s still put a uniform on, go out and put your best foot forward. That’s what I’m doing. It just hasn’t gone quite like I wish it would, but at the same time, we’ve got a whole half of baseball left. We’re in a pennant race and those are the things that I’m focused on.”

Yankees manager Joe Girardi also weighed in: “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. Sometimes it takes people a little time to adjust [to New York]. … I think he’ll be fine. I don’t think it will be an issue. I think he loves it here. I think he enjoys playing here. And I think Brian expects a lot from himself.”

McCann entered play Tuesday with a weak .230/.289/.379 slash line in 305 plate appearances. The 30-year-old catcher signed a five-year, $85 million free agent contract with the Yankees over the winter.

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.