Hiroki Kuroda: "I just feel lucky to be alive"

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It seems like a lot more attention has been paid to the blow to David Wright’s head than Hiroki Kuroda’s, but at least Wright had a helmet.  Kuroda:

“It happened so fast that I didn’t have any time to be scared,” the right-hander said through an interpreter. But after falling to the ground, “I was kind of scared about what was going to happen next.”

So was his wife, Masayo, who was watching the game from their Los Angeles home.

“She thought I died,” Kuroda said . . . “I have a minor headache and when I stand up I feel a little bit dizzy sometimes,” Kuroda said. “They basically told me to rest. I just feel lucky to be alive and [to] go out on the mound next time.”

Given what happened to Ryan Church last year, I’d feel much better about the world if neither Wright nor Kuroda played again this year.  There are some things more important than baseball, and there is nothing more scary than a head injury.

Royals sign Drew Storen to minor league deal

Drew Storen
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The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.

Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.

While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.