Garrett Richards, not Hisanori Takahashi, will take over for the struggling Joel Pineiro in the Angels’ rotation, according to Keith Law of ESPN.com.
Reports over the weekend suggested the Angels weren’t all that enthused about any of their potential replacements for Pineiro, pondering various call-ups in addition to moving Takahashi from the bullpen to the rotation, but instead they’ll go with the most talented and inexperienced option.
Selected with the 42nd overall pick in the 2009 draft, Richards will be making the jump from Double-A, where the 23-year-old right-hander had a 3.06 ERA and 100/40 K/BB ratio in 141 innings.
He projects as a future mid-rotation starter and has certainly impressed at Double-A, but his strikeout rate of 6.4 per nine innings showed less dominance than the shiny ERA and 12-2 record would suggest and his control has been merely decent.
Richards almost can’t help but be an improvement over Pineiro’s recent performance, but Pineiro had a 3.88 ERA in 37 starts for the Angels prior to imploding within the past few weeks and it’ll be tough for the rookie to match those numbers right away.
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.