According to the Associated Press, Josh Hamilton is trying to quit chewing tobacco.
One would think that it shouldn’t be too tough for someone who has already overcome many personal demons, but it’s been a real struggle for him, not unlike many who dip or smoke regularly. Hamilton actually tried to quit last year, something we discussed on this blog, but it didn’t take.
In an effort to kick the habit for good, Hamilton is currently using toothpicks treated with tea tree oil, gum or sunflower seeds.
“It was time to do it,” Hamilton said. “It’s a habit and I don’t really enjoy it like I used to.”
Hamilton was actually chewing on one of the toothpicks when he ripped a first-inning single yesterday against the Rockies. That sounds a little risky, but hey, beats dying a slow death via dipping.
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.