Kirk Nieuwenhuis diagnosed with bone bruise in knee

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Kirk Nieuwenhuis left yesterday’s game against the Marlins after he hurt his left knee on a head-first slide into second base, but he received some encouraging news today. According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, Nieuwenhuis was diagnosed with a bone bruise and doesn’t have any ligament damage.

While it appears that Nieuwenhuis managed to avoid a serious injury, he was still limping badly this afternoon and estimates that he could miss anywhere from a few days to a week. The hope is that anti-inflammatories will get him back on the field soon.

Nieuwenhuis, who is trying to secure the starting center fielder job, batted .252/.315/.376 with seven home runs, 28 RBI, four stolen bases and a .691 OPS in 91 games with the Mets last season. The 25-year-old had just one hit over his first 18-bats this spring prior to the injury. Collin Cowgill, Matt den Dekker and Jordany Valdespin are among the alternatives for center field.

White Sox sign Ervin Santana to minors deal

Ervin Santana
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Free agent right-hander Ervin Santana picked up a minor league deal with the White Sox, according to various reports Friday. Per Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com, Santana will make $4.33 million if he manages to crack the major-league roster this spring. Any official confirmation from the team is still dependent on the results of a physical.

The veteran righty hasn’t seen any action in MLB for some time. He was laid low by prolonged discomfort in his right middle finger last spring, and underwent a capsular release/debridement procedure that kept him off the mound for all but 24 2/3 innings of his 2018 campaign with the Twins. When healthy, however, he’s been as durable and productive as they come. Santana earned his second career All-Star distinction in 2017 and pitched to a 16-8 record in 33 starts with three shutouts, a 3.28 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 7.1 SO/9, and 2.9 fWAR through 211 1/3 innings.

Barring further complications with his pitching hand, the 36-year-old should be a stabilizing force for the White Sox’ rotation in 2019 — assuming he can beat out southpaw Manny Bañuelos and right-handers Jordan Stephens and Dylan Covey for a back-end role, that is. According to FanGraphs, the club’s starters ranked worst in the league in 2018 with a collective 5.07 ERA, 5.18 FIP, and 3.1 fWAR.