Finally, some positive news for Carlos Guillen.
David Mayo of the Grand Rapids Press reports that the veteran infielder has been cleared to begin a minor league rehab assignment and will get things started Monday with Single-A Lakeland.
Guillen has not played in a major league game since undergoing microfracture knee surgery in September of last season and is likely to need over two weeks of minor league at-bats in order to get his timing right. That puts his projected return somewhere around the All-Star break, maybe a little after.
Guillen, 35, is making $13 million this season in the final chapter of a four-year, $48 million extension that he signed with Detroit in March of 2007. He’s hit just .269/.352/.426 with 27 home runs and 129 RBI since the ink dried on that contract. The Tigers will hope for much better down the stretch this summer.
If Guillen gets going and proves capable of handling everyday innings, he should easily steal starting second base duties from Ryan Raburn, who is batting .199/.239/.329 through 64 games this 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.