As first reported by Bill Ladson of MLB.com, Nationals closer Drew Storen underwent minor surgery Wednesday on his throwing elbow.
The procedure, performed in D.C., was designed to remove bone fragments and was deemed a success.
The Nationals aren’t saying for certain how long Storen will be out, but sources told Ladson on Wednesday evening that the team is confident he’ll be back in the major leagues sometime before the All-Star break. Henry Rodriguez and Brad Lidge are expected to continue handling ninth-inning duties for the time being.
Storen, 24, registered a sparkling 2.75 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in 73 appearances last season, saving 43 games in 48 opportunities while fanning 74 batters across 75 1/3 innings. He’ll certainly be missed.
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.