With Andres Torres headed to the disabled list because of a strained left calf, the Mets are planning to promote Kirk Nieuwenhuis from Triple-A prior to Saturday’s game.
Nieuwenhuis is recovering from an injury himself, having been down for most of the spring with a strained oblique. That prevented him from getting much play as a candidate to fill in when it looked like both Torres and Scott Hairston might start the season on the DL. Nieuwenhuis, though, is back on the field now and he went 0-for-2 in Thursday’s Triple-A opener.
Nieuwenhuis hit .298/.403/.505 in 53 games for Triple-A Buffalo last year before suffering a torn labrum in his left shoulder and missing the second half of the season. Baseball America rates him the Mets’ No. 7 prospect.
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.