Tyler Walker pitched well for the Nationals through mid-June, posting a 3.57 ERA and 30/8 K/BB ratio in 35 innings, but missed the final three months of the season following shoulder surgery.
Based on his recovery timetable the veteran reliever could be ready to pitch again as soon as spring training, but at age 34 he’s reportedly pondering retirement and today the Nationals released Walker.
Walker didn’t make his big-league debut until age 26 and never really got settled in one place thanks to injuries and poor control.
He pitched for five teams in eight years, throwing more than 50 innings in back-to-back seasons just once, but does have a 4.23 ERA in 300 career innings and was briefly a closer for both the Giants and Rays.
If he doesn’t call it quits Walker will likely find a minor-league deal somewhere.
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.