Indians closer Chris Perez enjoyed a silky smooth Cactus League debut on Thursday, throwing just five pitches in a hitless inning against the Rockies.
MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian has the full report.
Perez missed most of spring training after suffering a left oblique strain during a late-February bullpen session. But he pitched in two minor league games before Thursday’s debut and is scheduled to make two more Cactus League appearances before the Indians head north next week. The bearded 26-year-old should be completely up to speed by Opening Day.
Perez registered a cool 3.32 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 59 2/3 innings last season while tallying 36 saves.
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.