Cardinals manager Tony La Russa hasn’t confirmed his roster for the World Series against the Rangers quite yet, but he is expected to make two notable changes.
From Matthew Leach and Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com comes word that Jake Westbrook will take the place of Kyle McCllelan in the Cardinals’ bullpen while Skip Schumaker is expected to replace Adron Chambers.
Westbrook was on the roster during the NLDS against the Phillies, but didn’t make an appearance. The 34-year-old right-hander posted a 4.66 ERA and 104/73 K/BB ratio over 183 1/3 innings during the regular season. He will likely function as a long man out of the bullpen during the World Series.
Schumaker went 6-for-10 with two doubles and three RBI during the NLDS against the Phillies, but missed the NLCS with an oblique strain. The 31-year-old utility man is capable of playing second base and all three outfield positions.
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.