No deal will come of the Rangers’ move to draft paralyzed University of Georgia outfielder Johnathan Taylor in the 33rd-round in the MLB draft earlier this month. Instead, Taylor, who was injured in an outfield collision with teammate and now fellow Rangers draftee Zach Cone on March 6, will remain part of the baseball program at Georgia while working to complete his degree.
The Rangers have made a donation to the fund supporting Taylor’s rehab, and they invited him on the field along with their other Georgia-based draft picks prior to Saturday’s game against the Braves in Atlanta. Once Taylor completes school, the hope is that he’ll become a part of the Rangers organization in some capacity.
In the meantime, he still has bigger priorities.
“Right now my goal is to get better in rehab, focus on trying to get my legs back up under me again. Start walking, running, and get back up on that field again,” he said Saturday.
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.