From Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times comes word that the Blue Jays are close to an agreement with free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski.
Cowley buried the news in a story about the White Sox signing Adam Dunn, so it’s possible that he doesn’t fully trust the source that passed along the information. But a marriage between Pierzynski and the Jays would make some sense.
The 33-year-old still has a decent bat and could step in as a full-time catcher if projected Jays starter J.P Arencibia falls flat.
Pierzynski posted a .270/.300/.388 batting line in 2010 for the White Sox with nine home runs and 56 RBI over 474 at-bats. Chicago is likely to go with Ramon Castro and Tyler Flowers at catcher next season, or they could try to land free agent backstop Miguel Olivo.
UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com says that the rumor is false. Pierzynski is not close to a deal with the Blue Jays and the White Sox are still hoping to re-sign him.
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.