The desire to add a left-handed bench bat for the playoffs led the Phillies to sign and quickly release Jack Cust and now they’ve acquired John Bowker from the Pirates for a player to be named later or cash considerations, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com.
Bowker has been at Triple-A for most of this season, hitting .306 with 15 homers and an .830 OPS in 106 games, but the 27-year-old corner outfielder/first baseman has played 228 games in the majors for the Giants and Pirates while hitting just .237 with a .679 OPS.
That includes a .248 batting average and .718 OPS versus right-handed pitching and even at 27 his solid minor-league track record suggests Bowker is capable of more if given another extended opportunity. He won’t get that down the stretch in Philadelphia because his role would be mostly pinch-hitting, but Bowker is a solid low-cost pickup.
And because he’s expected to join the roster today, Bowker will be eligible for the playoffs.
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.