Perhaps Josh Beckett’s thumb is a bit more of an issue than originally believed.
Beckett was just pulled from his start against the Tigers after tying a career-high by serving up five home runs. This included two homers each by Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, the new 3-4 combo in Detroit’s lineup. Alex Avila hit the other. The only other time Beckett had allowed five home runs in a game was August 23, 2009 against the Yankees.
All told, Beckett gave up seven runs on seven hits over 4 2/3 innings while walking one and striking out three. Just to put things into perspective about how bad this start was, Beckett didn’t allow more than six earned runs in any of his starts last year and it took him until June 28 to give up his fifth homer of the season.
Who knows if the bad performance had anything to do with the thumb. Weird things happen over the course of a season. But it’s worth noting that Aaron Cook tossed seven shutout innings today for Triple-A Pawtucket. The Red Sox would have a built-in replacement if Beckett really is hurt.
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.