Rafael Soriano to undergo precautionary MRI on “tender” elbow

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Well, nobody could have predicted this one.

Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports that Rafael Soriano will undergo a precautionary MRI after he showed up to the ballpark today with what Yankees manager Joe Girardi called a “tender” elbow.

Soriano, who signed a three-year, $35 million contract with the Yankees over the winter, has a 5.79 ERA and 9/9 K/BB ratio over his first 14 innings of work this season. The 31-year-old right-hander previously underwent Tommy John surgery in August of 2004 and had exploratory surgery on the elbow in August of 2008.

Soriano tells Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com that he’s fine, but it will be interesting to hear Brian Cashman’s comments if the MRI reveals something serious.

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.