UPDATE: St. Louis is placing Berkman on the disabled list and activating Skip Schumaker from the DL to take his roster spot.
Lance Berkman returned to the Cardinals’ lineup and played two games with a slightly torn calf muscle, but the first baseman suffered a setback while chasing a foul ball yesterday and said afterward that “the disabled list is a possibility for sure.”
Berkman explained to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that if resting the injury for a week while on the active roster didn’t keep him from aggravating it almost immediately a longer absence might be needed.
For now he’s officially listed as day-to-day, but general manager John Mozeliak hinted that a roster move may be coming and at the very least Berkman is unlikely to play again until next week even if he avoids the DL.
Berkman was off to a great start, hitting .348 with a 1.022 OPS in seven games, but the good news for the Cardinals is that rookie fill-in Matt Carpenter has batted .375 with five extra-base hits and a 1.120 OPS in 10 games.
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.