Braves rookie Jason Heyward continued his attack on the National League Sunday, pegging a four-year-old boy with a batting practice home run just hours before first pitch. He’s a dangerous, dangerous man. A slugger on the loose. Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the story.
All is well — the boy only suffered a bump on his head, a bump he’ll probably never forget. But Jason Heyward must be stopped. From car windows to the hearts of fans of ever other National League team, Heyward won’t cease until he has crushed them all. And now he has turned on the Atlanta faithful.
OK, enough of that. I don’t want to yap my way into the rath of Cool Papa Craig. Heyward, 20, has a stellar .383 on-base percentage, .564 slugging percentage, seven home runs and 20 RBI through just 24 games this season. Oh, and that boy? He also got an autographed ball from the rookie sensation.
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.