Manny Ramirez leaves early with calf injury

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manny headshot.JPGDodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez departed Thursday’s game against the Reds in the sixth inning after straining his left calf, or rather aggravating a previous calf injury.

Manny hit a single in the sixth, trotted down the first base line, but pulled up lame just before hitting the bag.  He missed a handful of games last week with a similar calf issue and is likely going to be deemed “day-to-day” once Dodgers trainers get their hands on him.  He was replaced in left field by Reed Johnson, who may be asked to start the next couple of games as the dreadlocked outfielder rests.

Ramirez, 37, is off to a torrid start, batting .415/.500/.659 with two homers and 12 RBI through 41 at-bats.  He should avoid the disabled list, but you never know.

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.