Philadelphia activated Carlos Ruiz from the disabled list after the All-Star catcher missed the past five weeks with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, which is a surprise considering there was some recent talk about the Phillies simply shutting him down the season.
Not as surprising is the Phillies putting Placido Polanco on the disabled list, as he’d already been benched in favor of journeyman Kevin Frandsen and clearly wasn’t close to being fully healthy anyway.
Ruiz was having an amazing, breakout season before going on the DL, hitting .335 with 14 homers, 28 doubles, and a .959 OPS in 95 games. In his absence the Phillies turned to 32-year-old rookie Erik Kratz as their primary catcher and he’s remarkably hit .287 with nine homers and a .944 OPS in 38 games, so between his unexpected production and Ruiz’s health it’ll be interesting to see how manager Charlie Manuel divvies up the playing time behind the plate.
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.