Michael Kirkman diagnosed with recurrence of skin cancer

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Almost exactly one year ago Rangers left-hander Michael Kirkman completed treatment for skin cancer, but the team announced yesterday that he’s been diagnosed with a recurrence of cutaneous lymphoma on his right triceps following a recent screening.

Chris Toman of MLB.com reports that Kirkman will undergo radiation treatment and has been placed on the disabled list, with the hope that he’ll be able to continue throwing and potentially rejoin the team in just a few weeks.

Kirkman, who’s been struggling on the mound and asked to take some time off after the diagnosis, said:

It’s just kind of one of those things. It’s kind of a blessing in disguise. I can take a step back, take a mental break and work some bugs out.

That’s a pretty amazing attitude to have in the face of such adversity.

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.