Predictably, after Miguel Batista joked that his subbing for an injured Stephen Strasburg was like fans showing up to see Miss Universe only to get Miss Iowa instead, the actual Miss Iowa has responded.
Her name is Katherine Connors, she looks just a tad better in a two-piece than Batista, and she issued the following statement:
I know I can throw a pitch or two! The question is, can Miguel Batista walk the runway in a swimsuit?
Batista naturally backtracked from his comments a bit, framing them more as a compliment than an insult, and said Connors is “gorgeous.” He also sent her some flowers to smooth things over.
And just for the record: I’m in favor of more baseball players getting into public feuds with beauty pageant contestants, if only for the excuse to post pictures of women who look like Connors instead of dudes who look like Batista.
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.