Tyler Colvin is back with the Cubs following a two-week demotion to Triple-A because Alfonso Soriano has been placed on the disabled list with a strained quadriceps muscle.
According to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com the Cubs don’t actually think Soriano would be unavailable for a full 15 days, but put him on the DL anyway because they “don’t want to go too long a man short.”
Most teams take the opposite approach, playing short-handed for as long as possible if they think an injured player can ultimately avoid the DL.
Colvin earned his demotion by going 7-for-62 (.113) to begin the season and wasn’t particularly impressive at Triple-A, batting .260 with a terrible 13/2 K/BB ratio in 12 games (although he did show good power there).
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.