Stephen Drew expected to rejoin Diamondbacks next Wednesday

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Stephen Drew hasn’t played in a major league game since undergoing right ankle surgery 11 months ago, but he’s finally close to rejoining the Diamondbacks’ lineup.

Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers said on Arizona Sports Radio 620 earlier today that the team is hopeful that Drew will be activated from the disabled list next Wednesday.

Drew began his rehab assignment with Triple-A Reno earlier this month and is hitting .250 (8-for-32) with two homers, five RBI and an .865 OPS over eight games. The 29-year-old shortstop was eased into game action initially, but he recently began playing in back-to-back games. He is scheduled to leave the team for a couple of days following a death in the family, but Towers said he should join Double-A Mobile on Sunday to resume his rehab assignment.

“Probably Sunday/Monday hopefully Mobile for two days, Tuesday recovery day, and hopefully Wednesday he’s activated in Atlanta,” Towers said.

Drew is a .270/.330/.442 hitter over his first six seasons in the majors. He’ll be a welcome addition to the lineup, although Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson recently suggested that he expects to give him regular rest upon his return.

There’s a pretty good chance that this will be Drew’s final season with Arizona, as neither side appears likely to exercise his $10 million option for 2013 and Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick recently expressed frustration about his lengthy rehab process.

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.