Michael Pineda shut down after feeling lingering shoulder weakness

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Bad news for the Bombers.

Michael Pineda threw as scheduled today in extended spring training, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that he was shut down after feeling lingering weakness in his right shoulder.

The hope was that Pineda would begin an official minor league rehab assignment if things went well today, but any such plans have been put on hold. The 23-year-old right-hander underwent an MRI at the end of March which showed only tendinitis and no structural damage, but he’ll now be sent back to a doctor to see if anything is more seriously wrong.

It’s way too soon to call the Montero-for-Pineda deal a bust for the Yankees — we’ll need years to make a proper judgment on this one — but it’s a good thing they added Andy Pettitte as an insurance policy for their starting rotation. It sure doesn’t sound like Pineda will be a factor anytime soon.

UPDATE: Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News that Pineda will return to New York on Monday to be examined by team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad. He’s expected to undergo a dye-contrast MRI to see if they missed anything in the initial exam last month.

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.