Last offseason LaTroy Hawkins signed a two-year, $7.5 million deal with the Brewers and then went 0-3 with an 8.44 ERA in 16 innings while trying to pitch through shoulder pain.
He was eventually shut down and underwent surgery on his labrum and rotator cuff in August. Yesterday the 38-year-old reliever told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he’s “doing well” and expects to be ready for Opening Day:
I’ve been throwing pain-free since the start of the year, every other day. I have no tightness like I’d felt before. The strength is there and it’s getting better every day.
Hawkins has yet to throw off a mound, which he’ll try for the first time once pitchers and catchers report to spring training in a couple weeks. Milwaukee owes him $4 million this season, but also brought in some right-handed relief insurance in the form of 41-year-old Takashi Saito.
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.