Lance Berkman legs out a triple, sits out with a calf injury

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Lance Berkman was playing through a finger injury yesterday when he tweaked his left calf muscle legging out a rare triple, leaving the game two innings later.

He’s also absent from the Cardinals’ lineup this afternoon, sitting out against right-hander Johnny Cueto and the Reds.

Berkman described his calf as “tender” following the game and initially held out some hope that he’d be in the lineup today, suggesting it might not be particularly serious.

He was off to a great start this season, batting .375 with a 1.190 OPS through five games, but Matt Carpenter is now filling in for Berkman at first base and hitting cleanup. Carlos Beltran also has the day off.

When he does return, the 36-year-old Berkman may want to think about stopping at second base.

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.