Umpire Joe West calls the Red Sox and Yankees "pathetic" and "embarrassing"

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Joe West.jpgI said I’d stop complaining about Yankees-Red Sox game times, but that doesn’t mean I can’t quote other people who are doing it. Especially when they’re the ones in charge of moving the game along. Veteran crew chief Joe West, who had the plate for Sunday Night’s game:

“They’re the two clubs that don’t try to pick up the pace. They’re two of the best
teams in baseball. Why are they playing the slowest? It’s pathetic and embarrassing. They take too long to play. The commissioner of baseball says he wants the pace picked up. We try. And [Tuesday night’s game] still almost went four hours . . . This is embarrassing, a disgrace to baseball.”

I think Joe West is one of the worst umpires in baseball, so the fact that I find myself agreeing with him on this is going to cause me to have to reevaluate my position somewhat. In the meantime, though, let’s go with it.

But as we go with it, let us also acknowledge — as Jason at IIATMS so deftly does this morning — that Joe West’s crew did a pretty poor job of calling the low strike yesterday, and Joe West personally squeezed the zone on Sunday night. And presumably does so all the time, actually, as does every other umpire who works Yankees-Red Sox games, at least to my untrained eye.

Yeah, the hitters on those teams are among the best at working the count, but they work the umpires a hell of a lot too, and get a lot of calls they shouldn’t get.  If the umps were calling the low strikes — and don’t even get me started on the almost completely absent high strike — these games wouldn’t drag on nearly as long as they do.

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

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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.

Luis Valbuena to miss four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring

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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.