Knee injury, 6.81 ERA get Washburn skipped

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Asked yesterday about reports that he’s been pitching through a knee injury, Jarrod Washburn said: “It’s not new news. It’s been bothering me for three or four months.” Of course, three or four months ago Washburn was pitching well in Seattle and now he’s sporting a 6.81 ERA in six starts with Detroit.
This afternoon manager Jim Leyland announced that the Tigers will skip Washburn’s next scheduled turn in the rotation, with Armando Galarraga returning from Triple-A to take his place Saturday against the Rays. For now the plan is for Washburn to take a week off and then rejoin the rotation on September 10 against the Royals.
“I got skipped once earlier this year in Seattle and it helped quiet it down a little bit so the pain level was tolerable,” Washburn said. “So we figured it was worth another try. Any doctor that’s seen it told me there’s probably some cartilage damage in there, so it’s probably not going to go away.”
Galarraga was a mess prior to his demotion, going 6-10 with a 5.05 ERA in 24 starts thanks largely to the least-effective fastball in the league. Fortunately for the Tigers they have a 4.5-game lead in baseball’s worst division and, unless the Twins turn things around in a hurry, they can focus on getting Washburn as healthy as possible for the playoffs.

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

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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.

Luis Valbuena to miss four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring

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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.