Mitch Moreland was out of the Rangers’ lineup yesterday for the second straight game because of an abscessed tooth and will use today’s break in the schedule to undergo oral surgery, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.
Mike Napoli came out from behind the plate to start at first base in Moreland’s absence yesterday, but Sullivan reports that the Rangers expect him to be ready to play again post-surgery as soon as tomorrow versus the Red Sox.
The tooth problems compound a rough start for Moreland, who’s followed up a disappointing sophomore season by going 3-for-20 (.150) through six games. He needs to start hitting to keep his job, so the clock will be ticking once Moreland returns from surgery.
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.