The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Frank Francisco this winter from the Rangers with the hope that he might be able to bring stability to the back end of the club’s bullpen, but he had arm troubles all spring and was placed on the disabled list before Opening Day.
This week, they’ll finally get their man.
From MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm comes word that the Jays plan to activate Francisco on Tuesday if everything goes well in his final minor league rehab appearance today at Single-A Dunedin.
Jon Rauch has been handling Toronto’s save opportunities in the early going and has been mostly effective, sporting a 2.70 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and three saves in three chances. But the Jays feel Francisco can be even better, and they’ll move Rauch back to his more familiar setup role when the time comes.
Francisco, 31, turned in a 3.76 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and fanned 60 batters in 52.2 innings last year for Texas.
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.