I was paying attention to Matt Stairs more closely to see when he’d get his first hit at all this season. Little did I know — until I read Adam Kilgore’s story in this morning’s Washington Post anyway — that the hit he had in last night’s game was his 100th career pinch hit.
Strange career for a neat guy. There aren’t many non-head cases who have played for a bunch of different teams, but Stairs is decidedly not that and has played for 13. A lot of that has to do with his pinch-hitting rep — those guys don’t last on the same team for a very long time — but I kind of suspect that a lot of guys could be pinch hitters. With Stairs I’m sure it has a lot to do with his willingness to take on the role with little fuss and the fact that he’s really likable. Need a pinch hitter this year? OK, call Stairs.
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.