Jose Contreras has successfully come back from Tommy John surgery at age 41.
Contreras blew out his elbow pitching for the Phillies last season, but decided not to call it quits and signed a minor-league deal with the Pirates. And after six appearances in the minors Pittsburgh has called him up while demoting Jared Hughes to Triple-A.
Hughes was very effective for the Pirates last season as a 26-year-old rookie, throwing 76 innings with a 2.85 ERA, but his secondary numbers were much less impressive and he struggled in 14 innings this year.
It’s hard to guess what Contreras has left in the tank at this point, but before the elbow surgery he was a solid setup man for the Phillies and posted a 3.74 ERA with 85 strikeouts in 85 innings from 2010-2012 while missing time with various injuries.
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.