Over at MLB.com Marty Noble writes the obligatory “remembering the baseball people who died in the past year” column.
I sort of hate to see this column every year, but I’m glad we have it too. We need it. We remember guys like George Steinbrenner and Ernie Harwell because they were giants, but we so easily forget people like Ralph Houk. Jose Lima. Mike Cuellar. Many, many others. It’s a long list. As Marty says, too long, but that’s just kind of how death works for better or for worse.
And no, it doesn’t make it any easier to sing the list along with that Jim Carroll song. I tried. Still kind of sad.
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.