Division Series - Detroit Tigers v Oakland Athletics - Game Two

Justin Verlander has avoided the disabled list and expects to start Saturday

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After seeking a second opinion on his sore shoulder Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander has avoided a trip to the disabled list and is now expected to start Saturday against the Twins.

Verlander, who left his August 11 start after one ugly inning and revealed afterward that he’s been dealing with shoulder problems for much of the season, has been playing catch and long-tossing to test the injury.

David Adler of MLB.com reports that the Tigers training staff has diagnosed Verlander with “shoulder capsulitis, biceps tendinosis, and some tendinitis” in his inflamed shoulder. And all of that has been characterized by both Verlander and the team as natural “wear and tear” for a pitcher with as much mileage on his arm as the 31-year-old former MVP and Cy Young winner.

Saturday we’ll find out if 12 days off does the trick. Dating back to mid-May he has a 5.85 ERA in 17 starts, including an ERA higher than 4.50 in May, June, July, and August.

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.