Update: According to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, the Rays have won the hearing, so Upton will earn $3 million this season instead of $3.3 million.
11:00 am: Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times reports that a decision from a three-person panel of arbitrators regarding the Rays and outfielder B.J. Upton is expected sometime today. The two sides concluded a hearing which ran over 3 1/2 hours in St. Petersburg on Friday.
Upton requested $3.3 million and was offered $3 million when arbitration figures were exchanged in January. The 25-year-old outfielder never really found his footing last season after offseason shoulder surgery on his left shoulder, batting just .241/.313/.373 with 11 home runs, 55 RBI and 42 stolen bases. He’s arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter.
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.