Frank Francisco’s rough spring training now includes a knee injury.
Andy McCullough of the Newark Star Ledger reports that the Mets closer had his left knee drained to reduce swelling yesterday and is scheduled to undergo an MRI exam today.
Francisco has allowed 18 hits and four walks in 11 innings this spring, going 0-2 with a 5.54 ERA in 11 appearances while showing diminished fastball velocity.
Francisco’s track record as a setup man suggests he can get the job done as a closer if given the opportunity and the Mets seem pretty committed to letting him sink or swim in the ninth-inning role after giving him a two-year, $12 million deal, but the bum knee and missing miles per hour could make things tough.
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.