The Indians may be getting a new setup man.
According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, free agent reliever Chad Durbin has been talking recently with Cleveland’s front office and an agreement between the two sides could be just days away.
Durbin was thought to be holding out for offers from contending clubs, but spring training is officially underway now and exhibition games begin this weekend. He probably has a desire to get into a camp and begin readying himself for the season.
The 33-year-old right-hander posted a 3.80 ERA and struck out 63 batters against 27 walks last season in 68.2 frames of relief work for the Phillies. He will likely operate in the seventh and eighth innings behind closer Chris Perez in Cleveland. If Durbin does well enough, perhaps a contender will come calling mid-summer.
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.