The Padres had to do something after scoring just two runs while being swept by the Mariners over the weekend, and the hammer came down on Will Venable today, as the team demoted it’s primary right fielder and called up Blake Tekotte.
Venable, the Padres’ leader with 11 steals, was hitting just .224/.293/.291 with no homers and eight RBI in 134 at-bats.
Chris Denorfia, who had been playing over Venable against left-handed pitching, should be in line for an expanded role now. Denorfia has been the Padres’ best hitter at .333/.385/.500 in 84 at-bats for the season.
Tekotte is also due a long look. The 2008 third-round pick out of the University of Miami was hitting .291/.310/.486 with six homers and 14 steals for Double-A San Antonio. A left-handed hitter, he’ll see time against righties for the Padres. He was hitting .305/.431/.568 against them in the Texas League.
In choosing Tekotte, the Padres bypassed Aaron Cunningham, who is hitting a solid .288/.379/.460 for Triple-A Tucson. However, the team pretty clearly wanted a left-handed hitter, which Tekotte is. Ryan Ludwick, Cameron Maybin and Denorfia are all righties.
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.