UPDATE: My guess was way off. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that Penny is “weighing an opportunity” with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Japan’s Pacific League.
7:15 PM: Brad Penny was pretty awful with the Tigers last season. In addition to his 5.33 ERA over 31 starts, his strikeout rate of 3.67 K/9 was the lowest in the majors among qualified starting pitchers. Even worse, it was the lowest by a qualified starter since Livan Hernandez averaged 3.35 K/9 in 2008 between the Twins and Rockies.
With ugly numbers like that, it’s not a surprise to learn that the 33-year-old right-hander is having a hard time finding work with an MLB team. However, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick notes that Penny is drawing interest in Japan.
Just spitballing it here, but it would seem the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters have a void in their starting rotation now that Yu Darvish is officially a member of the Texas Rangers. And Brad Penny seems like the type of guy who would proudly fight to defend ham at all costs. Pretty easy match, really.
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.