Kendry Morales is no sure thing to be ready for Opening Day after missing most of last season with a broken leg and if he is ready for game action on March 31 it’ll likely be as a designated hitter, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
DiGiovanna writes that Morales “is hitting from both sides of the plate with no problems and participating in fielding drills … but he is still not running anywhere near 100 percent.”
Mike Scioscia said today that he’s “confident” Morales will be in the Opening Day lineup, but he’s not expected to play in an exhibition game for at least another week. Bobby Abreu is slated to be the Angels’ primary designated hitter now that Vernon Wells has joined Torii Hunter and Peter Bourjos in the outfield, and none of those four guys has ever played an inning at first base.
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.