Mark Teixeira is in the best shape of his life

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This doesn’t quite qualify as a BSOML story because he didn’t use the magic words, but at this time of the year I’ll accept any story that leads with weight loss and conditioning. Mark Teixeira:

Mark Teixeira says that he is already about 10 pounds lighter thanks to diet and exercise, but what the Yankees first baseman really wants to do is bulk up his batting average from the left side … “I feel really, really good,” Teixeira said. “I’m eating a lot healthier; I’ve always eaten pretty healthy, but [I have used] the juice diet, making sure I’m not adding any unwanted calories. I’ve been able to run so much more, just being in better shape and getting over some nagging little injuries. Being able to move more and eat better really helps.”

Every story we see about a ballplayer’s weight loss means we’re one day closer to spring training getting underway.

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.