According to Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune, the White Sox agreed to a two-year, $12 million contract extension on Sunday morning with left-handed reliever Matt Thornton. The deal also carries a club option for 2014.
The 34-year-old Thornton registered a strong 2.67 ERA and 1.01 WHIP across 60.2 innings for the Pale Hose last season, striking out 81 batters and walking only 20. He’s posted equally strong numbers for the past three years and has become one of the most reliable late-inning relievers in the game.
Thornton will get $5.5 million in 2012 and $5.5 million in 2013. He is making $3 million this season via a club option that was exercised in an easy decision for the Chicago front office at the end of October.
The White Sox are likely to ask him to close this season. If it’s not Thornton in the ninth, it’ll be youngster Chris Sale.
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.