* Despite all the Cubs’ problems, yesterday’s ejection
was amazingly Lou Piniella’s first of the season. In fact, it was his
first time being tossed since July of last year. Milton Bradley would
probably disagree, but perhaps Sweet Lou is mellowing in his mid-60s?
* With his DUI manslaughter trial still two months away, Jim Leyritz was arrested this morning and charged with domestic battery against his ex-wife.
* Blake Hurtik of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tells the amusing story of Jason Grilli and “The Hammer,” although it still can’t compare to the Adam Carolla version.
* Perhaps realizing that he’s a career .270/.312/.377 hitter making $7.25 million, Jack Wilson backtracked from his criticism of Pirates management following the team’s latest trade.
* Canadian-born Jason Bay was sworn in as an American citizen this morning.
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.