The hope was that Derek Holland would be cleared for a minor league rehab assignment if he showed enough progress with his surgically-repaired left knee during a workout today, but Rangers manager Ron Washington told Travis L. Brown of ESPN Dallas that he’s not ready yet.
Holland underwent microfracture knee surgery back in January. The final hurdle for a rehab assignment appears to be fielding his position. While the southpaw thinks he’s ready to pitch in games right now, he admitted that his leg was stiff today while covering first base and fielding bunts.
“I guess it just wasn’t as good,” Holland said. “It was their opinion. I’m going to go by them. They want to make sure everything is right. I do, too. I want it to be a one-time thing. I don’t want this to be a thing that I have to go back on the DL. I want to get it right the first time.”
Holland will focus on strengthening his leg for now and will be re-evaluated in two weeks. Washington doesn’t expect him to join the team’s rotation until after the All-Star break.
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.