Josh Collmenter struggled this spring and has coughed up 11 runs in seven innings through two starts, leading to speculation that he might not be long for the Diamondbacks’ rotation despite a very solid rookie season that saw him throw 154 innings with a 3.38 ERA.
Kirk Gibson confirmed to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com that Collmenter will make his next scheduled start Thursday, but declined to say that the right-hander’s rotation spot was safe beyond that.
Collmenter told Gilbert that he’s struggling mentally as much as physically by “trying to think of too many things rather than just throwing the ball” and “it becomes clogged up with thoughts.”
Collmenter rarely tops 90 miles per hour with his fastball, has an odd over-the-top delivery, and was never considered a top prospect in the minors, all of which played a role in his not reaching the majors until age 25 and may also lead to him having a shorter leash now that he’s there. Toss in the fact that the Diamondbacks have several very promising young pitching prospects close to being MLB-ready and he might be pitching for his job Thursday versus Atlanta.
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.