Given the news we heard last week, this was inevitable, but no less sad: Royals pitcher Paul Splittorff died this morning, losing his battle with melanoma and oral cancer.
Splittorff was the quintessential crafty lefty, never overpowering hitters but always finding a way. His durability and effectiveness led him to become the all-time leader in victories for the Royals. He was a fixture in their rotation from the days right after they entered the league and he played a huge role for them as they rose to the top of the AL West and, in many ways, became the premiere organization in the American League.
Splittorff amassed a career mark of 166-143 with a 3.81 ERA and pitched well in multiple playoff series for the Royals. His final years were spent as a broadcaster for the team.
He was 64-years-old.
Free agent reliever Sean Burnett signed a minor-league pact with the Marlins on Saturday. Per MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, the left-hander is slated to begin the season in extended spring training and will work toward a role in the majors.
Burnett, 35, has not appeared in full-time role in MLB since 2012. He last pitched for a big league team in 2016, surfacing for 5 2/3 innings with the Nationals before returning to the minors. Despite signing a minor-league deal with the Phillies last spring, he failed to make the Opening Day roster and was released prior to the start of the season.
Complicating Burnett’s return is a slew of chronic elbow issues. The left-hander has dealt with everything from bone spurs to a torn UCL over the last six years, and will need to take things slowly in the minors before the Marlins consider adding him to the bullpen this season.