Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune reports that Pirates manager Clint Hurdle isn’t anticipating Gerrit Cole returning from the disabled list when he is first eligible, on July 20. There is presently no timetable for his return, but the end of July or the first week of August would seem to be a realistic target barring any setbacks.
Cole, who shut the Phillies out on one hit over five innings on July 4, has been on the disabled list since with a strained lat in his right shoulder. Aside from the injury, the 23-year-old right-hander has had a good season, posting a 3.78 ERA with a 78/29 K/BB ratio in 85 2/3 innings over 14 starts.
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.