From beat writer Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com comes word that the Red Sox and Orioles had scouts in the stands for Joe Blanton’s Grapefruit League outing Thursday against the Braves.
Blanton threw the ball well, allowing only four hits and no walks in five innings of work while striking out four Atlanta hitters. He has a 2.70 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 10 total Grapefruit League frames.
The Blue Jays are also known to have interest in acquiring Blanton, who missed most of the 2011 season due to an elbow injury but entered camp this spring with a clean bill of health. He’s owed $8.5 million in 2012, but the Phillies are said to be open to eating about $2 million of that. Blanton will be a free agent in the winter.
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.