When the Red Sox signed Vicente Padilla they did so in part because he’s capable of starting or relieving depending on how Daniel Bard’s attempted move into the rotation and the rest of the pitching staff shake out. However, it’s clear now that Padilla wants to be a starter.
In fact, during an appearance on WEEI in Boston this morning the veteran right-hander said he signed with the Red Sox because “this is a great opportunity to be a starter” and “I like starting … I’ve started for a long time.”
He’s right about that, as Padilla hasn’t made double-digit relief appearances in a season since 2001, but the Dodgers were using him as a reliever prior to neck surgery last season. Apparently he never liked that role and chose the Red Sox specifically because “other teams needed me as a reliever.”
He may soon find out that the Red Sox need, or at least want, him as a reliever too, but in the meantime Padilla will compete for a rotation spot while trying to prove he’s healthy at age 34. He’ll first have to make the team, period, to collect the $1.5 million roster incentive on his minor-league contract.
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.