Josh Hamilton will miss his fourth straight game tonight after being hospitalized Friday with an intestinal virus. The good news, at least for the Rangers, is that he appears to be close to returning.
Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Hamilton participated in an early workout this afternoon, which included shagging flyballs and taking batting practice. It shouldn’t be much longer, but Leonys Martin will start in his place in center field this evening against the Padres.
Hamilton, is hitting .330/.390/.674 with 22 home runs, 62 RBI and a 1.064 OPS this season. Adam Dunn passed him for the major league home run lead over the weekend, but the impending free agent still leads the majors in RBI.
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.