Brett Tomko’s career is about to come full circle.
According to Ben Nicholson-Smith of MLB Trade Rumors, the Reds have agreed to sign Tomko to a minor league contract.
Tomko, who turns 39 in April, was originally drafted by the Reds in the second round of the 1995 draft and spent his first three major league seasons with the club before being traded to the Mariners in February of 2000 along with Mike Cameron, Antonio Perez and Jake Meyer in the deal that brought Ken Griffey, Jr. to Cincinnati.
The veteran right-hander made eight relief appearances with the Rangers early last year, but spent most of the season at the team’s Triple-A affiliate, posting an ugly 6.15 ERA and 82/42 K/BB ratio over 108 1/3 innings. He’s unlikely to crack Cincinnati’s Opening Day roster.
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.