Chipper Jones was quite vocal earlier this week that he didn’t want to go on a minor league rehab assignment, but it appears that he’ll respect the wishes of his manager Fredi Gonzalez.
According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jones will play rehab games with Class A Rome on Saturday and Sunday. Assuming all goes well, he should rejoin the Braves for Monday’s series opener against the Yankees in Atlanta.
Jones is currently working his way back from surgery on May 27 to drain a hematoma from his lower left leg. The 40-year-old was initially diagnosed with a left calf contusion after he was hit in the lower leg by a line drive off the bat of Rays’ outfielder B.J. Upton on May 18, but surgery was deemed necessary after his condition intensified.
Jones’ farewell tour has already included two trips to the disabled list, but he has been plenty productive when in the lineup this season, hitting .307/.377/.485 with five homers, 24 RBI and an .862 OPS in 114 plate appearances.
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.