Bruce Chen stays with Royals for $2 million

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After initially holding out for a mulityear pact, Bruce Chen will return to the Royals on a one-year, $2 million contract, reports SI.com’s Jon Heyman.

Chen, a journeyman who debuted with the Braves in 1998, finished 12-7 with a 4.17 ERA for the Royals last season. He went 1-13 in stints with the Orioles, Rangers and Royals over the previous four seasons. His deal with the Royals includes $1.5 million in incentives.

The Royals, who probably had Kevin Pucetas fifth on their starting pitching depth chart just a few days ago, are now looking at a rotation of Chen, Jeff Francis and Luke Hochevar in some order, with Kyle Davies, Vin Mazzaro and Sean O’Sullivan fighting for two spots.  There’s certainly no ace in the group, but at least they’re in far better position to survive until top prospects Mike Montgomery, Danny Duffy and John Lamb are ready.

Erasmo Ramirez to be shut down with a minor lat strain

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Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez has been shut down for two weeks with a minor lat strain, reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. It’s a precautionary move, as Ramirez felt some tightness in his arm and could not complete his scheduled bullpen session on Saturday.

There’s no word yet on whether Ramirez will be able to recover in time for the start of the season, though he’s expected to claim a rotation spot again this spring. The 28-year-old righty has been dogged by injuries throughout his six-year career, but finally managed to piece together a full season on the mound in back-to-back stints with the Rays and Mariners in 2017. He went 5-6 in 19 starts for the two clubs and turned in a cumulative 4.39 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 through 131 1/3 innings.

The Mariners are no stranger to pitcher injuries, either. They lost a number of their top arms to various elbow, arm and shoulder injuries last year and cycled through 40 total pitchers as they limped toward a 78-84 finish. Comments from club manager Scott Servais indicate that the team will keep a close eye on Ramirez throughout his recovery, though Divish notes that right-hander Andrew Moore and lefty Ariel Miranda could also slot into the no. 5 spot if Ramirez experiences further setbacks.