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.
Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.
Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.
Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.