While the Athletics plan to give Manny Ramirez more time in the minors to get tuned up for major league pitching, the Rays are going a different route with Hideki Matsui.
According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Matsui is expected to be added to the Rays’ roster tomorrow. It’s a bit of a surprise to see him join the big league club so quickly, as he’s hitting just .170 (8-for-47) with two doubles, four RBI and a 10/4 K/BB ratio over 13 games with Triple-A Durham.
Of course, the Rays don’t have much to lose if Matsui turns out to be a bust, as he’s set to make a prorated salary of around $900,000 when he is added to the major league roster. The 38-year-old figures to share at-bats with Luke Scott out of the designated hitter spot.
Matsui batted .251/.321/.375 with 12 home runs, 72 RBI and a .696 OPS in 141 games with the Athletics last season.
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.