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.
Rangers reliever Jake Diekman will have surgery on January 25 to help alleviate ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. As a result, the lefty will miss at least half of the 2017 regular season, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Diekman was diagnosed with the illness when he was 11 years old. He has brought awareness to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America with a “Gut It Out” campaign.
Diekman, who turns 30 years old on Saturday, finished the 2016 campaign with a 3.40 ERA and a 59/26 K/BB ratio in 53 innings. He came to the Rangers from the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade on July 31, 2015.
The Rangers and Diekman avoided arbitration last Friday, agreeing to a $2.55 million salary for the 2017 season.
It’s been on the verge of happening for a few days now, but now it’s official: the Toronto Blue Jays and Jose Bautista have reached a one-year deal with a mutual option. The deal is pending physical. An announcement making the deal official is expected later in week.
The exact financial figures have not been disclosed, but Jon Heyman reports that it will be in excess of the $17.2 million Bautista turned down when he turned down the Jays’ qualifying offer.
Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.