Andrew Bailey has been on the disabled list all season following a spring training thumb injury, but the Red Sox reliever is on the verge of returning after making back-to-back Triple-A appearances Wednesday and Thursday.
Overall on his minor-league rehab assignment Bailey has allowed one run in five innings with a 9/1 K/BB ratio and Justin Albers of MLB.com reports that his fastball was clocked as high as 94 miles per hour, so performance-wise he certainly looks ready to face big-league hitters again.
Or as Bailey put it in a radio interview with WEEI: “I feel real close.”
Bailey was acquired from the A’s for Josh Reddick and two prospects in December after serving as Oakland’s closer for the past three seasons, but it’s unclear if manager Bobby Valentine will immediately throw him into the ninth-inning role or stick with Alfredo Aceves as closer.
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.