Aroldis Chapman worked as a starter in spring training before Ryan Madson got hurt and the Reds decided to leave him in the bullpen, where he saved 38 games with a 1.51 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 72 innings during his first season as a closer.
Three years and 137 appearances into his big-league career Chapman has never started a game for the Reds, but general manager Walt Jocketty told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com that they still haven’t ruled out shifting him into the rotation:
We haven’t made a decision on Chapman as a starter or as a reliever. We’re talking about it. It depends on if we re-sign [Jonathan] Broxton and Madson. Or if we get another closer.
Chapman has been so dominant as a reliever that it’s no doubt tempting to just leave him alone, but if the Reds think he could handle a 180-200 inning workload that would be pretty damn tempting too.
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.