Now that Hanley Ramirez has put to rest all the offseason speculation about his willingness to play third base the next question is whether the Marlins would move him back to shortstop if Jose Reyes is on the disabled list.
Ozzie Guillen gave a pretty adamant “no” to that question today, telling Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald:
I won’t play with Hanley’s mind. It’s going to be hard for him to move to shortstop, and then when Reyes is ready, back to third base. Then we’re abusing this kid and we don’t respect him.
So who would step in at shortstop if Reyes goes down? Guillen pointed to Emilio Bonifacio, who’s slated to be the Opening Day center fielder but has played 96 games at shortstop in the majors.
Of course, if Reyes were to get injured and the recovery timetable was more than a few weeks it wouldn’t be shocking to see Guillen change his mind. Ramirez has been a starting shortstop in the majors for 824 games and more than 7,000 innings, so it’s tough to imagine Guillen playing Bonifacio there every day for an extended period with Ramirez standing right next to him. For a game here or there, though, it makes some sense.
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.