A pair of head-to-head roster battles were decided in Red Sox camp this morning, with Dennys Reyes beating out fellow left-hander Hideki Okajima and Matt Albers beating out fellow right-hander Alfredo Aceves.
Reyes and Albers have made the team as relievers, while Okajima and Aceves will head to Triple-A Pawtucket.
Okajima and Aceves both have a minor-league option remaining, while Reyes and Albers do not, which likely played a big part in the decisions. This way the Red Sox can keep all four pitchers, instead of having to risk losing Reyes or Albers had they kept Okajima or Aceves.
After a disappointing 2010 season Okajima took a pay cut to re-sign with the Red Sox for $1.75 million, which he’ll be earning in the minors. Aceves signed a “split” contract when he joined the Red Sox as a free agent last month, so he’ll make $200,000 at Pawtucket. Aceves looked good in camp and the Red Sox didn’t pay $1.75 million for Okajima to face International League hitters all year, so they’ll both likely get a shot in Boston soon enough.
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.