After undergoing season-ending hip surgery Todd Helton said back in September that he planned to play in 2013, but now he’s added knee surgery to the recovery process and may not be fully locked into coming back.
Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes that “the Rockies have to be prepared if he decides to retire” and “Helton won’t make a final decision until he sees how his surgically repaired hip responds after workouts this winter.”
Whether the focus is on his career-worst 2012 production or his current health Helton is no longer an everyday player at age 39, so even if he does return the Rockies will be giving significant time to someone else at first base.
Helton is owed $5 million in the final season of his contract and 2013 would be his 17th year with the Rockies.
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.