Royals sign left-handed reliever Scott Downs

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From beat writer Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star comes word that the Royals have agreed to terms on a major league contract with left-handed reliever Scott Downs, who will join the big league bullpen immediately. Casey Coleman was optioned to Triple-A Omaha to clear a 25-man roster spot.

Downs got released by the White Sox late last week after posting a rough 6.08 ERA and 1.65 WHIP over 23 2/3 innings. The veteran southpaw had a shiny 2.49 ERA in 43 1/3 innings last season between the Angels and Braves, holding left-handed hitters to a .259/.333/.296 slash line.

The 38-year-old Downs may have a little something left in the tank.

Dominic Smith dealing with a strained right quad

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Mets first baseman Dominic Smith is dealing with a strained right quad and is set to undergo an MRI on Monday, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports.

Smith, 22, did not play in the Mets’ first Grapefruit League game after showing up late. He played on Saturday, scoring two runs on a single and a hit-by-pitch in two plate appearances. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup.

The Mets signed Adrian Gonzalez during the offseason, which makes him the front runner for the starting job at first base. Smith needs to have a strong spring showing to make the 25-man roster but so far, it hasn’t gone well.

Smith made his major league debut in August last year and ended up playing in 49 games. He struggled to a .198/.262/.395 slash line with nine home runs and 26 RBI in 183 plate appearances.