Ryan Howard underwent an MRI exam after being placed on the disabled list with a left knee injury and the Phillies first baseman has been diagnosed with a torn meniscus.
He’s expected to miss 6-8 weeks, which would knock Howard out until at least late August and possibly the remainder of the season if any setbacks occur.
Last season Howard struggled after returning from a torn Achilles’ tendon and he got off to a slow start this season as well, but since June 1 he’d hit .287 with four homers and an .885 OPS in 30 games. Overall since coming back from the torn Achilles’ tendon that occurred during the 2011 playoffs Howard has hit just .244 with a .752 OPS in 151 games, which is a 150-point dropoff from his career OPS.
Howard, who’ll be 34 years old in November, is making $20 million this season and the Phillies owe him $25 million per season for 2014, 2015, and 2016, plus a $23 million team option or $10 million buyout for 2017.
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.