The Angels might be without shortstop Erick Aybar for the next several days.
According to Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times, Aybar underwent an MRI on his left side Wednesday that revealed an oblique muscle strain.
The Angels have not yet placed Aybar on the 15-day disabled list and are obviously hoping that he won’t need to go, but time will tell on that matter.
If he’s not feeling any progress by this weekend, the Halos will have no choice but to pull the trigger and bring in more infield depth from the minors.
“We’ll evaluate it,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Wednesday. “He’s only been able to bunt. We’ll see how he is Friday, if he can maybe be part of the game a little bit more if we need him to do something.”
For now, the Angels will rely on Maicer Izturis and Brandon Wood as their primary fill-ins at shortstop.
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.