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Report: Royals to sign Brad Boxberger

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Fancred’s Jon Heyman reports that the Royals and reliever Brad Boxberger are close to an agreement on a one-year, $2.2 million contract that also includes performance incentives.

Boxberger, 30, was the Diamondbacks’ closer last season. He saved 32 games with a 4.39 ERA and a 71/32 K/BB ratio in 53 1/3 innings. The right-hander was an All-Star reliever in 2015 with the Rays, leading the league with 41 saves, but struggled to stay healthy in 2016-17.

Wily Peralta handled most of the scant save opportunities for the lowly Royals last season, accruing 14 saves with a 3.67 ERA an da 35/23 K/BB ratio in 34 1/3 innings. It is not clear yet if Boxberger will assume the closer’s role from Peralta or serve as the set-up man. According to MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan, that will be cleared up by how each player performs in spring training.

Clayton Kershaw shut down with “an arm kind of thing”

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Spring training is just underway but Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw is already being shut down indefinitely.

Kershaw threw two bullpen sessions this week and, as the Los Angeles Times reports, he “didn’t feel right” afterward. Manager Dave Roberts said it was “arm kind of thing,” which, viva specificity. Roberts did allow that it might be so-called “dead arm” but it’s too soon to know. For now he’ll be working out as usual but not throwing.

Kershaw has had an increasing number of nagging injuries and ailments over the past several seasons, limiting him to 26 starts last year, 27 the year before and 21 in 2016. Whether this is something serious or not is unknown, but at least he’s experiencing it now instead of the middle of the season.