Rich Hill posted incredible strikeout totals in the minors while coming up through the Cubs’ system and had a 3.92 ERA with 183 strikeouts in 195 innings in his first full season as a starter in 2007.
Unfortunately because of injuries and prolonged bouts of wildness that stands as Hill’s only full season as a starter, and during the past three years he’s logged a total of just 81 innings in the majors with an ugly 6.53 ERA and 64/59 K/BB ratio.
After spending most of last season in the minors Hill joined the Red Sox in September and tossed four scoreless innings out of the bullpen, and now Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports that they’re looking at him as a possible relief option for 2011.
He’ll compete for a bullpen spot on a minor-league deal that will pay $580,000 if he cracks the Opening Day roster and it could be a head-to-head battle with fellow control-impaired southpaw Andrew Miller. Hill’s fastball-curveball combo is definitely good enough to make an impact as a reliever, but counting on the 30-year-old lefty to simply throw the ball over the plate consistently is a big question mark.
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.