Roy Oswalt’s stay on the disabled list may not be as short as initially hoped and Chase Utley still isn’t ready to return from knee problems, but the Phillies will at least have Carlos Ruiz back in the lineup tonight.
Ruiz has been activated from the DL after missing the past 12 games with a strained lower back and his return comes at a particularly good time because the Phillies placed backup catcher Brian Schneider on the DL with a hamstring injury yesterday.
Ruiz, who hit just .226 with two homers and a .681 OPS in 21 games before the injury, will resume starting 4-5 times per week behind the plate with Dane Sardinha replacing Schneider as Chooch’s understudy.
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.