Initially expected to miss just a few games with what was termed a “mild” oblique strain, Geovany Soto is headed to the disabled list and Lou Piniella said this afternoon that “he’s going to be out probably a month or so.”
Soto followed up his Rookie of the Year-winning debut by getting off to
a brutal start this season, but has been hot recently while hitting
.261/.337/.591 with seven homers and 14 total extra-base hits in his
last 100 plate appearances.
Now the Cubs will turn to Koyie Hill as their primary catcher, which
is bad news given that he’s hit just .203/.277/.301 in 124 games as a
big leaguer after posting an underwhelming .281/.339/.439 line in 406
games at Triple-A.
Jake Fox could see some time behind the plate if the Cubs get
creative by sacrificing defense for offense, but it’s more likely that
Hill will receive the bulk of the starts while a minor-league veteran
like Mark Johnson or Chris Robinson back him up. Either way, it’s
another significant blow to a Cubs team that can’t afford many more
setbacks at this point.
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.