Tal Smith spent 35 years in the Astros organization prior to being fired last night and the longtime team president told Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle that he’s upset with how the situation unfolded.
Smith admitted to seeing the writing on the wall once Jim Crane named George Postolos the president of his new ownership group, but wasn’t officially informed of his firing until after the news had leaked to the media and was let go without speaking to Crane at any point in the past three months.
Smith also made it very clear that he has no plans to retire at age 78 and would even consider rejoining the Astros in a different role.
However, he doesn’t expect that to happen and when asked if he’ll be involved in the Astros’ upcoming 50th anniversary celebration, Smith replied: “I doubt I’ll be asked.”
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.