UPDATE: Stephen Strasburg diagnosed with shoulder inflammation

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UPDATE: Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said that an MRI and X-ray on Stephen Strasburg showed only inflammation in his right shoulder and no structural damage, reports Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com. He is currently listed as day-to-day.

7:34 PM: According to Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo made the decision to pull the plug after Stephen Strasburg was having trouble getting loose.

The Nats are calling it precautionary, however Strasburg is scheduled to undergo an MRI and an X-ray, just to cover all the necessary bases. Whatever your team affiliation, let’s hope it’s nothing.

7:07 PM: According to Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com, Stephen Strasburg has been scratched from Tuesday’s start against the Braves. The reason why isn’t immediately clear.

For those without the benefit of the MASN feed, Strasburg was warming up in front of Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty before the game and it was pretty clear something just wasn’t right. Ivan Rodriguez could be seen consoling Strasburg before he left the bullpen mound. Miguel Batista came out to start Tuesday’s game, instead.

It’s disappointing for those who wanted to see Strasburg face Jason Heyward, but the Nationals aren’t going to gamble on the future of their franchise, not when they are 15 1/2 games out of first place in the National League East. We’ll pass along further information when it is made available.

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.