Pablo Sandoval benched for NLDS Game 3

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As expected, Giants manager Bruce Bochy has benched Pablo Sandoval and will start Mike Fontenot at third base in Game 3 of the NLDS Sunday against the Braves.  This from Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.

“Kung Fu Panda” hit just .268/.323/.409 with 13 home runs over 563 at-bats during a disappointing regular season and is 1-for-6 with two strikeouts since the playoffs began.  He also made a crucial throwing error that led to the Braves’ comeback victory in Game 2.

The Giants are tied at a game apiece in their five-game series with the Atlanta.  Tim Hudson takes the mound this afternoon against Jonathan Sanchez.

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.