Back in January the Astros claimed outfielder Fernando Martinez off waivers from the Mets and today Houston optioned the one-time top prospect to Triple-A.
Being cut loose by the Mets for nothing and not being able to crack the Astros’ roster certainly aren’t good signs for Martinez, but he’s still just 23 years old and could definitely benefit from the chance to get healthy and spend some time at Triple-A.
Houston used the No. 1 waiver priority to snag Martinez, whose chronic knee problems and lack of development while being rushed through New York’s farm system have caused his stock to plummet in recent years. At this point it’s tough to project Martinez as much more than a useful regular, but if healthy he should get a chance with the Astros soon enough.
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.