Adam Dunn never homered off a left-handed pitcher last year. Today, he hit two in three at-bats off Royals southpaw Bruce Chen.
Dunn delivered a two-run homer in the first and a grand slam in the fifth inning, giving him four homers in 24 at-bats this spring. He’s struck out just once and walked nine times.
After signing a big four-year, $56 million deal with the White Sox, Dunn turned in one of the worst seasons in recent history in 2011, hitting .159/.292/.277 with 11 homers and 42 RBI in 415 at-bats. He was 6-for-94, good for a .064 average, against southpaws.
Obviously, a strong March isn’t making up for that, but it is looking like the White Sox will get to see the real Dunn this year. Even more than the four homers, it’s the one strikeout in 11 games that may be the most encouraging sign. Dunn struck out 27 times while hitting .224 in 67 at-bats last spring.
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.