Ryan Dempster will have a familiar face behind the plate for his start tonight against the White Sox.
Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com reports that the Cubs have acquired catcher Koyie Hill from the Reds for cash considerations. He’s expected to join the club immediately.
The Cubs have a sudden need for catching depth now that Geovany Soto is expected to miss three to four weeks following left knee surgery and Welington Castillo is out for four to seven days due to a mild MCL sprain in his right knee. Blake Lalli is the only other catcher on the roster right now and he just made his major league debut yesterday.
Hill was non-tendered by the Cubs in December after batting .194/.268/.276 over 153 plate appearances last season. The 33-year-old backstop signed a minor league deal with the Cardinals in January, but was released at the end of spring training. He latched on with the Reds late last month and had a .195/250/.341 over 44 plate appearances with Double-A Pensacola.
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.