In theaters now is “Million Dollar Arm,” Disney’s version of Rinku Singh and Dinesh Kumar Patel’s unlikely journey from game show winners in India to minor league pitchers in the United States. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN has their story.
Along the way, Crasnick tells us that, though their major league baseball dreams didn’t materialize, one of them did get to experience something many, many major league pitchers have lately: Tommy John surgery for Singh:
Last summer, Singh experienced another ritual that’s become increasingly more commonplace among young American and Latino males in his new profession: He underwent Tommy John surgery on his left elbow. Like Matt Harvey, Jose Fernandez and so many other All-Stars/household names, Singh is dealing with the emotional and physical fallout of an ulnar collateral ligament tear. He’ll spend this summer rehabbing in an effort to return to the playing field in 2015.
In this case, I do not think we can realistically look at the subject being overworked in highly-competitive youth traveling leagues as the culprit.
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.