UPDATE: Here’s the portrait. It’s actually pretty damn dignified. And, as a reader notes, the portrait is being donated by Peter Gammons and his wife Gloria. Which is kinda cool.
3: 58 PM: This is somewhat unexpected:
Former All-Star pitcher Pedro Martinez is in Washington to conduct a baseball mini-clinic and to promote exercise for children … On Friday, he’ll attend an unveiling of his portrait at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.
And no other context is given.
Maybe this is just me, but I’m having a hard time imagining a portrait of Martinez that isn’t, I dunno, less-than-Smithsonian-National-Portrait-Gallery-worthy. In my mind that place is for pictures of statesmen, generals and stuffy intellectuals standing next globes and what have you. Martinez, on the other hand, is a guy who always looks like he’s half a second away from some funny comment or a knowing smirk or something.
Oh well. No matter what his portrait looks like, on the merits he’s better than most statesmen, generals and stuffy intellectuals standing next globes and what have you, so good for him. I hope he’s pictured in an Expos uniform, however.
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.