Joey Votto: solo homer, solo homer, walkoff grand slam

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Let’s see Josh Hamilton match this one.

Already with two solo homers on the day, Joey Votto hit a walkoff grand slam off Henry Rodriguez to give the Reds a 9-6 win over the Nationals on Sunday.

It was just the second homer to a left-handed batter allowed by Rodriguez in 112 2/3 career innings. He entered the day with a 2.45 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 14 2/3 innings this season.

Votto, on the other hand, was suffering from a serious power outage this season. The 2010 NL MVP had homered just twice in 108 at-bats, though he did have 15 doubles. It was certainly only a matter of time before he started clearing some fences, but three in one day was rather unexpected. It was his second career three-homer game, as well as his second career grand slam and third career walkoff homer.

The comeback today prevented the Reds from being swept at home. They’re one game over .500 at 17-16 for the season.

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.