Joe Saunders already told reporters last week that he feels he is “just as good” as Dan Haren and through two starts with his new team, it’s pretty clear he is on a mission to prove just that.
After holding the Phillies to two runs over seven innings in his D-Backs’ debut last Thursday, Saunders allowed just one run in a complete-game win over the Nationals on Tuesday night.
Saunders told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that he felt some extra weight to step it up for his home debut.
“It’s nice that he (Gibson) has the confidence in me. There was a little talk about the Diamondbacks gave up a
lot in Haren. I’m here to prove the fans wrong, obviously, and prove my
worth to the organization.”
“Tonight was a big night. First impressions are big, and I had a decent start.”
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.