With his batting average down to .252 thanks to a month-long, 13-for-87 (.149) slump Ichiro Suzuki is out of the Mariners’ lineup today for the first time since 2009.
That snaps a streak of 255 consecutive starts for Suzuki, which is the second-longest in baseball behind only Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 268.
Carlos Peguero is starting in Suzuki’s place in right field, while Chone Figgins takes over the leadoff spot against Tigers right-hander Brad Penny.
Suzuki is obviously capable of getting very hot and boosting his numbers in a hurry, but Greg Johns of MLB.com notes that .252 is the lowest his batting average has ever been this deep into a season.
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.