No, Joe Girardi hasn’t announced it, but the Star Ledger’s Marc Carig has deduced as much from what Girardi said about the two slot yesterday. Girardi’s comments:
“On-base is extremely important to me because the guys behind him
can all hit the ball out of the ballpark. So, yes, you’d love to have a guy that had an extremely
high on-base percentage that can run and hit for power. But if you had
that guy he might hit somewhere else . . .You like to have guys who can run, but as I said,
because of the guys in front of him, that becomes less important. You
don’t have to be a flyer.”
I agree with Carig that this is Girardi basically saying, without saying it, that Nick Johnson is batting second this year. Which makes total sense. He’s an OBP God, and with A-Rod and Teixeira hitting three and four, anyone who has guys stealing bases in front of them should be summarily shot.
I think Nick Johnson’s addition is the single most underrated move of the offseason. If he stays healthy — and really, his injuries tend to be more freak things than chronic things — the Yankees are going to score tons and tons of runs.
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.