John Gibbons was one of seven candidates the Pirates interviewed to replace John Russell as manager, but Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that he’s removed his name from consideration for the job and will remain the Royals’ bench coach.
Gibbons was one of six finalists for the gig because the seventh candidate Pittsburgh interviewed, Eric Wedge, opted to take the Mariners’ job, although some reports have suggested that the Pirates are also waiting to interview a coach currently involved in the playoffs, such as Tony Pena of the Yankees.
Gibbons had all kinds of good things to say about the Pirates and his interest in the job earlier this week, so pulling out of consideration seems odd. In addition to Gibbons and Wedge, the Pirates have also interviewed Jeff Banister, Ken Macha, Bo Porter, Dale Sveum, and Carlos Tosca.
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.