This picture of a second grader dressed as Rangers manager Ron Washington got a lot of play on the worldwide web this past week.
It also got the Rangers’ attention and they have invited the young man, seven-year-old Liam Roybal, to exclaim “Play Ball!” before Sunday’s World Series Game 3 in Texas.
Leigh Munsil of The Dallas Morning News caught up with Roybal this weekend. He first wore the costume at a church festival in the Dallas area and then at a Career Day. His parents eventually posted pictures of the getup on Facebook, and it spread from there.
“He is absolutely excited, he’s kind of bouncing off the walls right now,” mother Ami Roybal said. “We all sat around the table and laughed about it. We said, ‘You might really look like Ron Washington when you shave your head.'”
And he most definitely does. Lineups and pregame notes should be coming out shortly for Game 4.
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.