Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch cites a team source who says that the Cardinals are starting to look for starting pitching help. The deal is this: Kyle Lohse and Brad Penny will likely come back, but no one is quite sure when, and they need to plug the rotation holes.
The unsettling part: Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan, who reportedly initiated the search for pitching, are lobbying for Jeff Suppan. To which I can only say “eek!” OK, sure, if there’s anyone you’d trust to fix Jeff Suppan it would be Dave Duncan because he’s the best there is, but he’s still Jeff Suppan, dudes.
Other possibilities mentioned: Kevin Millwood and Brian Bannister. Each, I think, could be intriguing additions. The former is struggling right now and the latter is surging, but I think each of them could do well with some time in the NL.
The one course that seems to have been ruled out is a Pedro Martinez-style reclamation project, which probably makes sense.
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.