Mets prospect Sean Ratliff to miss season after being struck in the eye by foul ball

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Mets prospect Sean Ratliff broke six bones and suffered a partially detached retina when a foul ball struck him in the right eye while he stood in the on-deck circle during a game this spring and Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports that the 2008 fourth-round pick will miss the entire season.

Ratliff has undergone two surgeries already and told Rubin that doctors “sounded pretty hopeful … that everything would be back to normal, or good-enough eyesight, to where I can hopefully keep playing.”

Braves minor-league manager Luis Salazar lost his left eye when he was struck by a foul ball just a few weeks earlier and Ratliff talked about how fortunate he feels to avoid the same fate:

I’m very blessed that it didn’t happen that way. That was the first thing that went through my mind. I wasn’t knocked out or anything. I was on the ground. I was like, “You’ve got to be kidding me, this is going to happen to me too?”

You don’t wish something like what happened to Luis Salazar happening to anybody. I was scared for a little while there that I wasn’t going to be able to see, or I wasn’t going to play again. I’m still not completely out of the woods yet with returning, or being able to play. But God has blessed me with hopefully a second chance here.

Ratliff struggled somewhat in his first two-and-a-half pro seasons after being picked out of Stanford, but the 24-year-old outfielder hit .317 with 16 homers and a .933 OPS in 73 games at Double-A following a midseason promotion last year.

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.