Yasmani Grandal goes yard twice in historic performance

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Anthony Rizzo isn’t the only youngster doing it big.

Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal, making his first career major league start, slugged a solo home run from the right side of the plate in the fourth inning of Saturday’s 8-4 defeat of the Rockies. He then hit a two-run shot from the left side of the dish in the sixth.

According to the Associated Press, via NBC Sports, it was the first time in major league history that a player had homered from each side of the plate for the first two hits of his career. “I can’t describe how remarkable this is,” Grandal said later. “Just getting the call-up was surreal. To get called up and hit two home runs for my first two hits, it’s just incredible.”

The 23-year-old Cuban switch-hitter was acquired this past winter from the Reds in the Mat Latos trade. He’s expected to see regular action behind the plate in the wake of Nick Hundley’s demotion.

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.