The good news is that Jonny Venters’ trip to see Dr. James Andrews hasn’t resulted in elbow surgery.
The bad news is that Andrews injected Venters’ elbow with platelet-rich plasma and the Braves left-hander has been shut down for four weeks.
Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that Venters would then begin a throwing program, which likely means he’s at least six weeks away from potentially getting back on a mound and seemingly rules him out for all of April and May.
Atlanta has the bullpen depth to handle Venters’ absence, but he’s definitely a huge loss after posting a 2.23 ERA and 258 strikeouts in 230 innings through his first three seasons. During that three-year span Venters made 230 appearances, which was the second-most in baseball.
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.