The Cardinals surely have their fingers crossed right now, as Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Yadier Molina is out of tonight’s lineup against the Rockies due to a sprained right thumb and is scheduled to undergo X-rays when the team returns home to St. Louis tomorrow.
Molina injured the thumb in an awkward slide into first base last night. He’s currently dealing with some swelling, which is naturally making it difficult for him to throw or hit. More should be known following the examination tomorrow.
Molina took a huge leap forward offensively last year and he has been even better this year, batting .310/.359/.506 with 16 home runs, 52 RBI and an .856 OPS in 91 games played. The 30-year-old backstop has also thrown out 44 percent of attempted basestealers (20-for-45), which leads all major league catchers. An extended absence would be a tough blow for the Cards, who enter play tonight 7 1/2 games behind the Reds in the National League Central and three games back in the Wild Card race.
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.