Matt Kemp and Troy Tulowitzki aren’t the only National League stars who are hurting.
According to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Ryan Braun is out of tonight’s lineup against the Dodgers in order to rest nagging tightness in his right Achilles tendon. The injury has flared up at various times this season and he felt it again last night on a slide into second base.
Fortunately for the Brewers, it doesn’t appear to be a major concern, as Braun is available off the bench. Norichika Aoki is making the start in left field tonight.
Braun is batting .309/.395/.608 with 14 home runs, 36 RBI and a 1.003 OPS over 210 plate appearances this year. The Brewers have won three straight games entering play tonight, but sit in fourth place in the National League Central at 22-28.
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.