Clay Buchholz gave the Red Sox a bit of a scare last week when he suffered a minor strain of his right hamstring during a fielding drill, but it already appears to be a non-issue.
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports that Buchholz “felt good” after he threw 37 pitches this morning in a two-inning simulated game. If all goes according to plan, he’ll make his Grapefruit League debut at some point next week.
“Felt really good,” Buchholz said. “The one thing that we need to sit and work on is [pitching] out of the stretch. Didn’t really get to go in depth with it. There’s definitely some kinks in the delivery. Other than that, felt strong.”
Buchholz, 28, had a 4.56 ERA and 129/64 K/BB ratio over a career-high 189 1/3 innings last season. He was actually pretty solid after the start of May, posting a 3.62 ERA over his final 23 starts.
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.