Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton played in only four games during the month of September and just one game in October because of soreness in the area of his left shoulder. He has promised to work on the strength and conditioning of that shoulder this offseason and got a head start this afternoon at Arizona’s Chase Field.
Jack Magruder of FOX Sports Arizona reports that Upton felt no pain or discomfort while batting in an instructional league game on Thursday, the same game that Brandon Webb appeared in for two innings. Webb allowed three hits and two runs, again showing poor velocity on his sinking fastball.
Upton, 23, had a massively successful 2009 campaign, batting .300/.366/.532 with 26 home runs, 86 RBI and 20 stolen bases over 526 at-bats. That all led to some wildly optimistic projections for 2010 and Upton simply didn’t live up to the hype.
He’s still plenty young and immensely talented, and a healthy shoulder should only aid in his ability to get back on track. He should at 100 percent by the start of spring training in 2011.
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.