Josh Beckett cleared to begin throwing program

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Two months ago Josh Beckett underwent season-ending surgery to remove a rib that was putting pressure on a nerve and causing numbness in his hand. And now he’s ready to start throwing again.

Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Beckett is scheduled to begin a throwing program Wednesday and Beckett is very pleased with how his recovery has gone so far, saying: “I don’t think anyone was expecting for me to be where I’m at right now.”

Beckett told Hernandez that he’s hoping to do enough throwing to head into the offseason without any limitations, potentially setting him up to be ready for a full spring training. He’s under contract for $15.75 million next season in the final year of a four-year, $68 million contract, but at this point the Dodgers would probably view any contribution they get from Beckett as a bonus.

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.