In choosing Mike Matheny as their new manager the Cardinals may have guaranteed that Terry Francona won’t be in a dugout on Opening Day.
There’s been some speculation about his interest in the Cubs’ opening, but nothing indicates he’s actually a candidate in Chicago and no other gigs are available. Well, except for his old job in Boston.
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes that “it seems unlikely Francona would become a bench coach” and “could work for a team as a scout or consultant while waiting for something to open up.” Television is also a possibility, particularly after Francona did so well subbing for Tim McCarver on FOX during the playoffs.
And of course not starting the season as a manager doesn’t rule out ending the season as a manager. Given his experience and success Francona would seemingly be an obvious choice to step in should a contender fire its manager in the middle of the season and it’s easy to imagine his availability causing a team to drop their current guy earlier than they normally might. If he wants to manage again it’s tough to think Francona will be out of work for long.
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.