Russell Martin returned Sunday after missing four days with back stiffness, but he wasn’t able to give it another go tonight, as the Yankees scratched him and started Francisco Cervelli behind the plate in the series finale against the Indians.
It makes one wonder if Martin might go on the disabled list within the next 24 hours. Even if he might be capable of playing through his back problems, it doesn’t look like he’ll be an asset in the process. He’s currently in a 2-for-32 slump that’s seen him drive in just one run since May 25.
The Yankees, though, have been very patient so far. One reason for that, perhaps, is that Jesus Montero is in no position to come up and battle for time behind the plate. The team’s top prospect is hitting .289 for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but that comes with just four homers and a 50/12 K/BB ratio in 201 at-bats. He’s going the wrong way, too, having hit .365 in April, .269 in May and just .130 in 23 at-bats so far this month.
So if the Yankees do decide to place Martin on the DL, odds are that Gustavo Molina would be called up to back up Cervelli.
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.