Adam McCalvy of MLB.com caught up with legendary Brewers announcer Bob Uecker, who’s spending the offseason in Arizona resting up after undergoing two heart surgeries this year and plans to return to the broadcast booth for his 41st season in 2011.
At age 75 he “plans to work a full schedule” of games and Uecker told McCalvy that he’s looking forward to spring training more than ever after a 2010 filled with health problems:
It makes you appreciate things around you that you don’t pay a lot of attention to normally. It makes you appreciate your job. It makes you appreciate all of the guys who worked on me and all of the great baseball fans who say they want you back. There’s no way I’m going to quit. I wouldn’t know what the heck to do. I feel good. When I start slobbering, then it will be a different story. They won’t have to tell me when to quit. I’ll know.
McCalvy described Uecker as “choking up” when discussing the outpouring of fan support he received while in the hospital. In four decades calling Brewers games it was just the second time he’s missed a large number of games.
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.