Already having picked up Chris Carpenter, the Red Sox have now acquired fellow right-hander Aaron Kurcz from the Cubs as the player to be named in the Theo Epstein compensation package.
This comes almost five months after Epstein left the Red Sox to become the Cubs’ president of baseball operations. The Red Sox still owe the Cubs a player as part of the deal.
Kurcz, 21, was an 11th-round pick in the 2010 draft. He spent the entire 2011 season at high-A Daytona, finishing with a 3.28 ERA and a 91/34 K/BB ratio in 82 1/3 innings. Initially strictly a reliever, he made 12 starts last season with fine results. Still, he didn’t rate a mention in Baseball America’s top 30 Cubs prospects.
Kurcz figures to open this season in Double-A, though whether he’ll be a starter or a reliever is unclear. Carpenter is likely to start off in the bullpen at Triple-A Pawtucket.
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.