Hideki Okajima spent nearly all of last season in the minors despite being paid $1.75 million by the Red Sox and now the veteran reliever will try to make it back to the majors with the Yankees.
David Waldstein of the New York Times reports that Okajima has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Yankees that includes an invitation to spring training.
At age 36 the odds are against Okajima reestablishing himself as a quality setup man, but he pitched very well at Triple-A with a 2.29 ERA and 48/9 K/BB ratio in 51 innings and if nothing else could be useful as a situational left-hander.
Okajima provided an excellent return on the Red Sox’s investment after signing out of Japan in 2006, throwing 246 innings with a 3.11 ERA while being paid around $8.5 million.
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.