Josh Beckett scratched from Sunday start, Franklin Morales rejoins Red Sox rotation

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As expected the Red Sox have scratched Josh Beckett from his scheduled Sunday start against the Twins due to a back injury, announcing that Franklin Morales will take his place.

Morales moving back into the rotation seemed possible as soon as the Red Sox traded for left-handed reliever Craig Breslow earlier this week, although for now at least the move isn’t permanent because Beckett remains on the active roster.

Beckett left Tuesday’s start in the third inning due to back spasms and missed much of 2010 with a back injury, but so far the Red Sox have indicated this issue isn’t particularly serious.

Morales had gone three years without starting when the Red Sox gave him a chance in the rotation in mid-June and he had a 3.42 ERA and 31/8 K/BB ratio in five starts, but then moved back into the bullpen for the past few weeks.

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.