Scott Baker has battled elbow problems since 2010, throwing just 135 innings last year and beginning this year on the disabled list, and after a recent setback the Twins announced today that he’ll undergo season-ending surgery.
It’s not Tommy John surgery, but rather a repair of his flexor pronator tendon, which carries a six-month recovery timetable.
That rules him out for this season and with Minnesota all but certain to decline his $9.5 million option for 2013 likely signals the end of his Twins career.
Baker topped 175 innings just once, throwing 200 in 2009, but when healthy he was consistently a solid No. 2 or No. 3 starter with excellent strikeout-to-walk ratios and a 3.98 ERA in 134 starts since 2007. It’s remarkable that he pitched as well he did last season, posting a 3.14 ERA and 123/32 K/BB ratio.
Baker being out of the picture likely means that prospect Liam Hendriks will get an opportunity to stick in the Twins’ rotation at age 23 and with little experience above Double-A.
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.