Orioles have no timetable yet for Matt Wieters’ return

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Orioles catcher Matt Wieters won’t be ready to come off the disabled list when eligible on May 26 and Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com reports that there’s still no timetable for his return from an elbow injury that may eventually require surgery.

Wieters recently received a platelet-rich plasma injection to hasten the healing process and told Ghiroli that he’s optimistic about avoiding surgery, but he’s not even to the point of beginning a throwing program yet.

Wieters was off to a big start before being placed on the disabled list, hitting .308 with five homers and an .838 OPS in 26 games, and the Orioles initially thought he might be able to stay in the lineup at designated hitter before deciding instead to shut him down.

Steve Clevenger and Caleb Joseph have been sharing time behind the plate in Wieters’ absence, with Joseph getting more of the playing time recently.

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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.