Kendrys Morales goes 2-for-3 in Cactus League debut

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Kendrys Morales played in a major league game Thursday for the first time since fracturing his left ankle while celebrating a 10th-inning walkoff home run against the Mariners on May 29, 2010. And it went about as well as such a thing can go.

Morales punched a single through the right side of the infield in his first at-bat, popped out to first base in his second at-bat, then laced a single to center field in his third at-bat. The Angels won 7-4 over the Royals, improving to 10-8 in Cactus League play (not that anyone should care).

Morales will be in the Angels’ starting lineup again on Friday afternoon and should be allowed to make regular appearances in Cactus League games until the opening of the 2012 regular season.

If he’s able to avoid setbacks, the 28-year-old Cuban slugger will start at designated hitter this year for Anaheim. He earned MVP votes in 2009 after batting .306/.355/.569 with 34 home runs and 108 RBI.

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.