Coming off elbow surgery, Scott Diamond might not be ready for Opening Day

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When left-hander Scott Diamond had surgery in December to remove a bone chip from his throwing elbow, it was expected that he would be ready for spring training. However, it appears that he is running behind schedule.

LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune writes that while Diamond has begun his throwing program, it’s “really iffy if he will be ready for Opening Day.” Assuming he needs more time, the assignment could fall to one of the team’s offseason additions, Vance Worley or Kevin Correia. It’s worth noting that Worley had bone chips removed from his elbow last September, but he’s expected to be at full strength this spring.

Diamond, 26, went 12-9 with a 3.54 ERA and 90/31 K/BB ratio over 173 innings last season. The rest of the Twins’ starters had an ugly 5.86 ERA.

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.