Mark Feinsand of the Daily News reports that, despite Joe Girardi’s stated preference of keeping Derek Jeter as his leadoff hitter, “some inside the organization” want to see Brett Gardner at the top of the order and Jeter moved down to the two-slot.
There are two ways to look at this, I reckon. On the one hand, Garder’s on-base skills are pretty special. Unless Jeter returns to 2009 form and Gardner slumps, Gardner is almost certain to get on base at a better clip than Jeter.
On the other hand, there’s this. So you see, it’s not nearly as clear-cut as one might imagine.
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.