Brett Anderson is starting to make real progress.
According to Jane Lee of MLB.com, the Oakland left-hander threw off a mound on Saturday afternoon for the first time since undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last July. He threw a total of 20 pitches — all fastballs — without feeling any sort of abnormal pain or discomfort in his arm.
“Quick, efficient, command was there,” A’s manager Bob Melvin told Lee in a short review of the workout.
Anderson is aiming to join the Athletics’ starting rotation at some point in August. The 24-year-old owns a solid 3.66 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 371 career major-league innings. He was limited to 13 starts in 2011.
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.