Derrek Lee pulled from Monday’s game with strained oblique

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The oblique epidemic has claimed yet another victim.

Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com reports that Derrek Lee was pulled from Monday’s game against the Red Sox with a strained left oblique. He was replaced at first base by Jake Fox in the bottom of the third inning after going 1-for-2 with an RBI double.

Lee, who signed a one-year, $7.25 million contract over the winter, is batting just .231/.311/.346 with four home runs, 14 RBI and a .657 OPS over his first 177 plate appearances this season.

If Lee needs a trip to the disabled list, which is often the case with these type of injuries, it’s possible that the Orioles could put Luke Scott at first base in order to rest his right shoulder while giving Felix Pie regular duty in left field.

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.