In contrast to Francisco Rodriguez — who apparently doesn’t want to be a setup guy if he gets dealt — Padres’ closer Heath Bell is just fine with that. At least as long as he can go back to closing for 2012 when he presumably will sign someplace else as a free agent. Here’s Bell:
“If you’ve got a closer right now and you need me to be the eighth-inning guy, I’ll be the eighth-inning guy. Secretly, I would probably tell the manager, ‘Look, I’m going to go out there and I’m going to show you I can beat the other guy.’ If the other guy is better than me, then we’ll have one heck of a bullpen.”
Bell is one of the few truly elite players who are clearly on the block, and he could help any number of contenders, including the Yankees, Phillies and Rangers.
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.