George Sherrill, Dan Wheeler join Royals on minors deals

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In addition to adding outfielder Willy Taveras on a minor-league deal the Royals have also signed left-hander George Sherrill and right-hander Dan Wheeler to minor-league contracts, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.

Sherrill was once a very good left-handed setup man, but missed nearly all of this year following Tommy John elbow surgery and faces an uphill battle coming back at age 36.

Wheeler got knocked around in a dozen appearances for the Indians and in May the 34-year-old was outrighted to Triple-A, where he threw 43 innings with a 2.32 ERA and 30/13 K/BB ratio.

They’ll both try to win a middle relief gig during spring training.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.