Carlos Beltran out of Giants lineup with stomach illness

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Carlos Beltran was finally starting to produce for the Giants, collecting eight hits in his last three games, so naturally he’s been scratched from today’s lineup with what Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News describes as “food poisoning/stomach ailment.”

Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle called it “a gastric illness,” so I think it’s safe to say Beltran didn’t have a very good morning.

Cody Ross shifted from left field to right field in Beltran’s absence, with Brandon Belt making his 16th start in left field. Beltran has played well for San Francisco, hitting .318 with an .859 OPS that basically matches his career mark, but he’s now missed 13 of the 36 games since the Giants gave up top prospect Zack Wheeler to get him from the Mets.

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.