Team USA, playing in Pool D, is off to a disappointing start in the World Baseball Classic. Starter R.A. Dickey led off the game allowing a single to Eduardo Arrendondo and a double to Ramiro Pena. Both would quickly score on a Luis Cruz sacrifice fly and Adrian Gonzalez ground out. In the third, Arrendondo led off with a single again and was plated when Adrian Gonzalez homered to center field. Dickey’s night ended after the fourth inning with a total of 38 pitches.
USA got on the board in the bottom of the fourth when Jimmy Rollins led off with a single, advanced to second on a one-out walk by Ryan Braun (chasing Mexico starter Yovani Gallardo in the process), and scored on a David Wright single to right.
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.