Before the season, the Mets erected a new fence in front of the old green wall, lowering the height needed for a home run to 8 feet from as much as 16 and cutting the distance from home plate by up to 12 feet. And, not surprisingly, the number of home runs hit in Citi Field increased, from 108 last year to 155 this year.
Citi Field’s smaller dimensions helped opponents more than the New York Mets. Of the 46 home runs this year that would not have cleared the old wall, 21 were hit by New York, according to figures compiled by the team … Visiting homers went up to 88, a boost from 81 in 2009, 47 the following season and 58 last year. It was the highest total against the Mets since 91 at Shea Stadium in 2001.
I guess David Wright his some more homers at home this year than he did in the past few years. And frankly, I tend to think that making David Wright happy was the whole purpose behind moving fences anyway. So, mission accomplished?
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.