Twins prospect and 2010 first-round pick Alex Wimmers walked the first six hitters he faced this year, was immediately removed from the Single-A rotation, and spent three months trying to avoid going further down the scary Steve Blass/Rick Ankiel path.
He rejoined Fort Myers as a reliever and then moved back into the rotation last month, pitching very well while avoiding any serious control issues. And on Saturday night he threw a seven-inning no-hitter in his final outing of the season.
Perhaps more importantly than not allowing any hits Wimmers issued just two walks and faced the minimum 21 batters in a 1-0 victory. Since his disastrous season debut and lengthy stay in extended spring training Wimmers has thrown 41 innings with a 3.32 ERA and 39/16 K/BB while limiting opponents to a .189 batting average.
He’s not out of the woods yet, but considering the number of pitchers who haven’t been able to recover once they start going down that dangerous path it’s good to see Wimmers back on track.
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.