University of Washington quarterback Jake Locker is a couple months from being drafted by an NFL team, but in 2009 he was also a 10th-round pick in the MLB draft and signed for a $250,000 bonus that gives the Angels his baseball rights through 2015.
Angels general manager Tony Reagins talked to Mark Saxon of ESPNLA.com about Locker’s status and suggested that he may choose to play baseball if there’s an NFL work stoppage:
I think there are some factors out there that are going to make his decisions more difficult. The labor situation is one, where he’s selected is one of them. Our eyes are wide open in this regard and we’ll see how it plays out. You always have a chance.
Locker’s football stock has dipped somewhat, but he’s still likely to be a high-round pick who’ll receive more than $250,000 to sign with an NFL team. However, if there’s no football to be played in 2011 he’s a legitimate outfield prospect and the Angels have enough invested in him to give him an extended opportunity in the minors.
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.