Jake Arrieta turned to sports psychologist amid struggles

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Jake Arrieta is back with the Orioles following a midseason demotion to Triple-A and the 26-year-old right-hander told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that his struggles led to consulting a sports psychologist.

Arrieta started on Opening Day for the Orioles, but posted a 6.26 ERA in 18 total starts and then continued to get knocked around in the minors. Then in early August he called sports psychologist and former MLB pitcher Don Carman.

I had so much clutter in my mind, I just had so many thoughts racing through my mind at one time that it was so hard for me to put all of that aside and just pitch. You never know what it’s going to be that helps you click. But talking to Don was one of those things.

Connolly notes that Arrieta had a 1.82 ERA in his final four starts at Triple-A, racking up 31 strikeouts in 25 innings. Just one of his 128 career appearances in the minors and majors have come as a reliever, but for now Arrieta will pitch out of the Orioles’ bullpen.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.