Rockies closer Franklin Morales goes on DL with weak shoulder

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franklin morales headshot.jpgThe Rockies revealed after Monday’s game that Franklin Morales was unavailable due to a sore shoulder, and though the initial report made it sound like a minor problem, Morales landed on the DL on Tuesday with shoulder weakness.
“We don’t want to push the envelope and risk a serious injury,” manager Jim Tracy told the Denver Post.
Manuel Corpas, who already appeared to be in line for save chances over Morales anyway, will now handle closing duties until Huston Street comes off the DL. Street, who has been sidelined since the spring with his own shoulder woes, is set to begin a rehab assignment Thursday.
Morales was named the Rockies’ closer to start the year despite the presence of a couple of much better compensated relievers on the roster in Corpas and Rafael Betancourt. He was just 3-for-5 saving games, though, and he taken two losses since converting his last save chance on April 22.

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.