Though he’s probably a better option than some of the guys the Royals and Mets will trot out to the mound this season, Greg Maddux has apparently decided that his retirement is going to stick. Instead, he’s going to go work for the Cubs as a special assistant to Jim Hendry.
Maddux has long been thought of as a guy who could be brilliant a pitching coach. Unlike a lot of superstars who can’t readily translate what allows them to perform their craft to mere mortals, Maddux has a reputation as being an excellent teacher in the dugout. Young pitchers in San Diego spoke particularly highly of his counsel.
One wonders if this your standard-issue spring training roving instructor assignment for Maddux or if he’s trying coaching on for size and will follow his brother into the biz one day himself.
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.