Don Mincher, who played 13 seasons in the majors and made a pair of All-Star teams as a slugging first baseman, passed away last night at age 73 in Alabama.
Mincher served as president of the Double-A Southern League until retiring last year due to health problems and was previously general manager of the league’s Huntsville team.
Signed by the White Sox in 1956, he was traded to the Senators (who later became the Twins) along with Earl Battey for Roy Sievers in 1960. Six years later the Twins traded Mincher to the Angels in a deal for Dean Chance and a couple years after that the Seattle Pilots snagged him in the expansion draft.
Mincher’s raw numbers (200 homers, .798 OPS) don’t look spectacular by today’s standards because he spent most of his career in the extremely low-scoring 1960s, but he produced an adjusted OPS+ of 127 in 4,725 plate appearances. To put that in some context, Don Mattingly had a 127 OPS+ in 7,722 plate appearances.
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.