Yasiel Puig’s first attempt at a minor league rehab assignment was halted about a month ago due to a setback with his left hamstring strain, but he’s starting to ramp things up again.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that Puig was able to run at nearly 100 percent Monday at the team’s Camelback Ranch complex in Arizona. While Mattingly wouldn’t provide a timeline for his return, Puig hinted via his Twitter account this afternoon that another minor league rehab assignment likely isn’t far off.
Puig, who has been out since April 24, was hitting .279 (12-for-43) with two home runs and four RBI over his first 11 games prior to the injury. The Dodgers’ depth has been tested with Carl Crawford also sidelined, but players like Andre Ethier, Alex Guerrero, and Scott Van Slyke have done a nice job filling in.
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.