Dusty Baker may be unsure if Sean Marshall can step into the closer role for the injured Ryan Madson, but Marshall’s performance over the past two seasons suggests he’d be fantastic in the ninth inning and yesterday the left-hander made it clear that he’d “like the opportunity to pitch in that role.”
Part of Baker’s apparent hesitation comes from wondering if Marshall would do well pitching three or four days in a row, to which Marshall told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com: “I’ve definitely pitched at least three days in a row and been hot and ready to pitch a fourth game, too, and felt good. … I’m more than capable of doing it.”
He wants the role, he’s fine with the potential workload, and he’s got a 2.45 ERA, 169/42 K/BB ratio, and .222 opponents’ batting average in 145 innings since 2010.
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.