Omar Infante’s diving attempt at a ground ball with the bases loaded yesterday was unsuccessful and left the Marlins second baseman with a fractured right middle finger.
Infante initially remained in the game, but was eventually replaced by Wes Helms and is bound for the disabled list. However, manager Jack McKeon is hopeful that Infante “can come back in a short period of time.”
Infante’s double-play partner, Hanley Ramirez, is already day-to-day with a shoulder injury, so the Marlins are suddenly very thin in the middle infield. Emilio Bonifacio started at shortstop yesterday and Helms, who’d never played an inning at second base before this week, spent half the game there after replacing Infante.
Prior to the injury Infante was having a sub par season, hitting just .274 with three homers and a .674 OPS after three straight years with a mark above .750. The man he replaced at second base, Dan Uggla, has a .709 OPS for the Braves despite hitting below .200 until his recent hot streak.
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.