We learned last week that Mike Napoli had yet to run comfortably on the left ankle injury that he suffered in an awkward baserunning play at second base during Game 6 of the World Series against the Cardinals, but he has made some progress over the past few days.
According to Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com, Napoli did some straight-line running with minimal discomfort and expects to be ready when spring training begins next month.
“The ankle felt pretty good,” Napoli said. “I ran with a sled to put a little weight behind it and it came out pretty good. I think it’s just me trusting it again. I’m going to have to work through some pain and feel some things, but it’s feeling good. I still have to get some more strength in it, but it’s definitely on its way.”
X-rays on the ankle came back negative for a fracture, but he was diagnosed with “stretched ligaments.”
Napoli, who batted .320 with 30 homers and a 1.046 OPS last season, requested $11.5 million and was offered $8.3 million from the Rangers when arbitration figures were exchanged on Tuesday. He is due to become a free agent following the 2012 season.
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.