Diamondbacks outfielder A.J. Pollock has been diagnosed with an avulsion fracture in his left thumb and is expected to miss the next four to eight weeks, the club announced. An avulsion fracture happens near where bone attaches to a tendon or ligament. During the fracture, the tendon or ligament is torn away and takes a small piece of bone with it. Pollock suffered the injury diving to catch a Tyler Saladino line drive during Monday’s game against the Brewers.
Pollock, 30, has been among the best players in baseball this season, batting .293/.349/.620 with 11 home runs, 33 RBI, 23 runs scored, and nine stolen bases in 166 plate appearances. This is obviously a big loss for the Diamondbacks, who enter play Tuesday leading the NL West with a 24-17 record.
Jarrod Dyson and Chris Owings are likely to handle center field while Pollock recovers.
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.