Jon Niese diagnosed with partially torn rotator cuff

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As expected the Mets have placed Jon Niese on the disabled list after the left-hander exited last night’s start with shoulder pain.

Niese got off to a terrible start this season while pitching through neck and shoulder problems, but put together a very effective stretch of late with a 1.93 ERA and 23/11 K/BB ratio in five starts since mid-May.

Considering this isn’t the first time Niese has experienced shoulder soreness this season the Mets figure to be pretty cautious with any return timetable, although nothing has been announced officially yet. Niese signed a $30 million extension with the Mets last spring that puts him under team control through 2018.

UDPATE: Manager Terry Collins downplayed the severity of Niese’s injury, but assistant general manager John Ricco just told reporters that the left-hander has a partially torn rotator cuff. No surgery for now, but it’s certainly not a minor injury.

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.