The Yankees have given CC Sabathia a little breathing room. Ichiro Suzuki doubled home Derek Jeter in the bottom of the sixth inning to stretch the Yankees’ lead to 2-0.
Jeter drew a one-out walk and scored all the way from first base after Suzuki put one into the right-center field gap. Robinson Cano struck out looking and Mark Teixeira was intentionally walked before Troy Patton replaced Jason Hammel to get Raul Ibanez to striking out swinging for the final out of the inning.
Of course, there’s a compelling case to be made that the Orioles should already be on the board. Nate McLouth hit a long fly ball along the right field line in the top of the sixth inning that landed very close to the foul pole. It was ruled foul on the field, but the play was reviewed after Buck Showalter went out to argue. However, the umpires quickly emerged to confirm the original call. It’s possible that the ball could have nicked the foul pole — and in fact, one usher told Craig Sager of TBS that it did indeed hit the pole — but there’s no definitive evidence yet. On a side note, that usher could be looking for a new job soon.
And so, it’s 2-0 Yankees as we move to the top of the seventh.
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.