* The latest reason why he’s one of my favorite managers: Jim Leyland apologized
and admitted that he “was totally out of line” after being ejected from
yesterday’s game for arguing balls and strikes with an imploding
Dontrelle Willis on the mound.
* As expected, the Mets have confirmed
that J.J. Putz will miss 8-10 weeks following surgery to remove bone
spurs from his elbow. Rookie Bobby Parnell will continue to serve as
Francisco Rodriguez’s primary setup man.
* Geovany Soto is hitting just .209 with one homer in 42 games, so Lou Piniella has decided to give the reigning Rookie of the Year “a nice little mental break” while starting Koyie Hill behind the plate.
* Bill Hall has hit .221/.289/.385 in 175 games since the beginning of last season and it sounds like
the Brewers are finally running out of patience. Unfortunately for
them, he’s making $6.8 million this season with another $8.4 million
coming next year.
* Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com penned an interesting, even-handed article about college pitchers racking up huge workloads.
* Justin Morneau takes a crack at blogging, with mixed results.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.