Not that there was much doubt considering he’s under contract for $5 million, but Todd Helton confirmed that he’s planning to come back from hip surgery to play in 2013.
“I think, physically, I will be able to come back,” Helton said, via Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. “So I plan on coming back, but there are a couple of things still on my mind. I want to know I have a good chance to make it through next year–healthy. That will factor into it.”
In other words it’s not quite 100 percent that he’ll return, which seems natural considering he’s just six weeks removed from surgery to repair a torn labrum and still going through the recovery process at age 39.
This was Helton’s worst season, as the career .320 hitter batted just .238 while trying to play through the hip injury before shutting things down in August. He’ll likely be a part-time player in 2013, but it’d be nice to see Helton go out on a high note.
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.