Nate McLouth doesn’t miss Pittsburgh:
“Things here are a lot more positive and relaxed,” McLouth said.
“People aren’t so … uptight. Losing for so long, there’s so many
negative things said about the Pirates. It’s tough to read them; you
get defensive. The thing is, it’s true and it’s tough to deal with that
negativity every day. It was kind of nice to get here to an
organization that’s won for a long time.”
Oh, and he has new contact lenses which he said he’s probably needed for years. Why didn’t he get them before now?
The Pirates checked his vision each year during spring training, but never detected any problems. “A blind man could pass that test they do,” McLouth said, noting it basically consisted of reading an eye chart.
Ouch. Rob Neyer lately has been talking about how teams are often penny wise and pound foolish, spending all kinds of money and mental energy on big name players but spending scant dollars and almost zero mental energy on little things like player nutrition, conditioning and stuff.
If what McLouth is saying is true, put the Pirates’ eye test in that same category.
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.