After initially holding out for a mulityear pact, Bruce Chen will return to the Royals on a one-year, $2 million contract, reports SI.com’s Jon Heyman.
Chen, a journeyman who debuted with the Braves in 1998, finished 12-7 with a 4.17 ERA for the Royals last season. He went 1-13 in stints with the Orioles, Rangers and Royals over the previous four seasons. His deal with the Royals includes $1.5 million in incentives.
The Royals, who probably had Kevin Pucetas fifth on their starting pitching depth chart just a few days ago, are now looking at a rotation of Chen, Jeff Francis and Luke Hochevar in some order, with Kyle Davies, Vin Mazzaro and Sean O’Sullivan fighting for two spots. There’s certainly no ace in the group, but at least they’re in far better position to survive until top prospects Mike Montgomery, Danny Duffy and John Lamb are ready.
Astros’ star second baseman José Altuve underwent surgery on his right knee, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports. Neither the specifics of the surgery nor a concrete timetable for the infielder’s recovery have been officially confirmed by the club yet.
Altuve, 28, suffered the injury in July after he jammed his knee on a close play at third base. Even after he completed an initial 3.5-week stint on the 10-day disabled list, chronic knee pain continued to dog him in the months that followed. As manager A.J. Hinch told reporters on Thursday, he would have held the second baseman out of the lineup under any other circumstances, but instead chose to commend Altuve for showing up and pushing through the pain as the Astros tried for a repeat championship title this postseason.
Per McTaggart, the Astros expect Altuve to make a full recovery by spring. The perennial All-Star infielder finished his 2018 run with a .316/.386/.451 batting line, 13 home runs, and an .837 OPS through 599 plate appearances. He fared slightly worse during Houston’s ALDS and ALCS campaigns, slashing .265/.324/.412 with three extra-base hits over 37 PA. The Astros were eliminated by the Red Sox during Thursday’s 4-1 loss in ALCS Game 5.