Ubaldo Jimenez injuring his ankle stepping in a hole provided the Orioles with an opportunity to give Kevin Gausman an extended chance in the starting rotation and now it sounds like they’re telling Jimenez to take his sweet time coming back.
Manager Buck Showalter told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that Jimenez will definitely need a minor-league rehab assignment before being cleared to come off the disabled list, so he won’t be returning when eligible on July 23. In fact, it seems likely that Jimenez will miss the remainder of the month, at minimum, giving the Orioles plenty of time to figure out what to do with Gausman and their suddenly crowded rotation.
Jimenez has struggled in the first season of a four-year, $50 million deal, but his control problems have always been a major issue and … well, five months ago the Orioles deemed him worthy of a $50 million investment. In other words, he’ll be back in the rotation eventually. And by that time Gausman may have established himself as Baltimore’s ace.
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.