According to the Washington Post, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman hinted Sunday that Stephen Strasburg is likely to begin the 2010 season in the minor leagues.
The 2009 No. 1 overall pick threw his first bullpen session of the spring on Sunday. He delivered 37 pitches, mostly fastballs, and apparently looked pretty sharp. But, no matter how great he may look this spring, the Nats want to respect the process.
“I wouldn’t really want to say that he’s competing for a spot in the rotation,” Riggleman said shortly after the workout. “I think we’re open-minded, but… he could pitch real well down here, but we still might feel like the development, the process is to be respected of going through the system and getting really used to the rigors of throwing every fifth day [in the minor leagues].”
Strasburg will get the call sooner than later, and perhaps right around the time Chien-Ming Wang (shoulder) is ready to contribute. The arrival of that duo should make for a nice midseason boost in Washington.
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.