Ryan Madson is “ahead of schedule” in his Tommy John surgery recovery

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Ryan Madson is expected to be the Angels’ closer if he’s healthy for Opening Day following Tommy John elbow surgery that wiped out his entire 2012 season and general manager Jerry Dipoto says the right-hander is “on or ahead of schedule.”

Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that Madson threw off a mound Monday for the first time since going under the knife and “will continue throwing twice a week until spring training begins.”

Dipoto described the Angels as “encouraged” by Madson’s progress, so it certainly sounds like he’ll be ready for spring training barring any setbacks. Madson, who had the surgery last April after signing a one-year, $8.5 million deal with the Reds, got $3.5 million plus incentives from the Angels.

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.