Brian Roberts isn’t the only member of the Orioles’ roster nearing a return after an extended absence.
According to Roch Kubatko of MASN, left-handed starter Zach Britton could be activated from the disabled list after making just one rehab start — scheduled for Saturday at Double-A Bowie.
Britton has been out since the end of spring training with shoulder soreness that dates back to late last season. He’s been making appearances in extended spring training games for the past few weeks in Sarasota, Florida and has reported no renewed discomfort.
Britton, 24, registered a 4.61 ERA and 1.45 WHIP in 154 1/3 innings (28 starts) last year for the Orioles. If he’s ready to take a step forward, the sophomore southpaw could be a real asset to first-place Baltimore.
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.