Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia is really good at introductions.
You might remember that the 24-year-old catcher hit two home runs in his major league debut last August. Well, Arencibia hit two more in last night’s 13-3 drubbing of the Twins.
Arencibia became the first rookie to hit two homers on Opening Day since Gary Gaetti in 1982. He’s the first player to have multi-homer games to start a season in consecutive years since Joe Torre did it with the Braves in 1965 and 1966. If that isn’t enough history for you, according to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com, Arencibia became the first Jays rookie to homer on Opening Day since Carlos Delgado in 1994 and the sixth Jays player to have a multi-homer game on Opening Day. Maybe I’m just weird, but I have missed hearing obscure stats like this.
You wouldn’t know it by last night’s results, but Arencibia was flat out awful this spring. He batted just .161 with 19 strikeouts over 62 at-bats. Many expect him to struggle to hit for a high batting average — remember, he went 1-for-30 after his historic exploits last season — but nobody has ever questioned his power.
Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.
When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.
Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.