Stephen Strasburg drawing a crowd at Triple-A

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Stephen Strasburg will make his Triple-A debut tonight and after averaging about 2,500 fans per game the Syracuse Chiefs have already sold out their 11,071-seat ballpark with hopes of additional walk-up sales making it the largest crowd in the venue’s 14-year history.
Chiefs general manager John Simone told MLB.com that the Nationals haven’t informed him how long Strasburg will be in Syracuse, saying: “You hope there’s going to be more than one game. We’ve been told we’ll have him at least for Friday night. Even that one start can generate a lot of energy.”
Most likely Strasburg will spend the rest of May with the Chiefs before joining the Nationals early next month, but the team has kept its plans close to the vest. He’s scheduled to throw “six innings or 80 to 90 pitches” tonight after going 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA in five starts at Double-A.

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.