Chase Utley could miss all of next week with mild concussion

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Chase Utley has already been ruled out for the entire weekend with a mild concussion suffered Wednesday and now general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. indicated that the Phillies second baseman probably won’t be back before late next week.

Amaro told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that “I don’t expect him to play the next two series just so we can be cautious … that’s just my guess.”

Those “next two series” are today through Sunday against the Brewers and then Monday through Wednesday against the Astros, meaning Amaro doesn’t expect to see Utley back in the lineup before Thursday.

Philadelphia’s huge lead in the NL East provides extra incentive to be cautious with injuries and as Justin Morneau, Jason Bay, Brian Roberts, Denard Span, and others have unfortunately shown recently there’s no forcing your way back from a brain injury.

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.