Brett Anderson progressing from strained right oblique

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A’s left-hander Brett Anderson has already been ruled out for the rest of the regular season with a strained right oblique. But it’s looking like he could be available if Oakland advances to the playoffs.

Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Anderson played catch from a distance of 120 feet Saturday afternoon at O.co Coliseum. It was his third consecutive day of long toss, and he told reporters though a team spokesperson that the workout went as well as he was hoping it would.

Anderson is expected to throw a bullpen session Monday. That would put him in line to start the American League Wild Card game on Friday, though a more realistic timetable has him returning for a potential ALDS.

The 24-year-old posted a 2.57 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 25/7 K/BB ratio in 35 innings this summer after returning from Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery. He owns a 3.57 career ERA and 1.25 career WHIP.

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.