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Royals sign Jake Diekman to one-year, $2.25 million contract

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The Royals announced on Wednesday that the club signed lefty reliever Jake Diekman to a one-year, $2.25 million contract that includes a mutual option for the 2020 season with a $500,000 buyout. The Athletic’s Rustin Dodd provided the specifics. To make room for Diekman on the 40-man roster, the Royals transferred pitcher Jesse Hahn to the 60-day injured list.

Diekman, 32, spent last season between the Rangers and Diamondbacks. He posted a 4.73 ERA with a 66/31 K/BB ratio in 53 1/3 innings. He was much better in his 39 innings with the Rangers, as he posted a 3.69 ERA. He yielded 15 runs (12 earned) in 14 1/3 innings with the D-Backs.

Diekman will slot into the back of the Royals’ bullpen along with Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger. Manager Ned Yost said earlier today, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan, that he’s not ready to name a closer, so Diekman could potentially enter into that competition.

Video: Starling Marte refuses to take first base after being hit by pitch

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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a Jack Flaherty pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. Rather than take first base, Marte — who came to the plate with a runner on first base — insisted to home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that the ball hit the knob of the bat, not his hand. Marte was allowed to continue his at-bat, though manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the ruling with Dreckman. Marte eventually grounded into a fielder’s choice. He then got caught attempting to steal second base and the Pirates scored zero runs in the inning.

According to Baseball Prospectus, a team that has runners on first and second with no outs is expected to score 1.55 runs. Having a runner on first base with one out yields 0.56 expected runs. Marte essentially cost his team a run by rejecting first base. Oops.