As reported late Saturday by FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi, the Tigers have agreed to a minor league contract with super utilityman Kevin Russo.
The 28-year-old was drafted by the Yankees in 2006 and has spent the past six seasons at various levels of their minor league system. He got a short cup of coffee in the big leagues in 2010, batting .184 with a .245 on-base percentage in 54 plate appearances.
Russo, a New York native, hit .284/.358/.351 with zero home runs and 15 stolen bases in 101 games this past summer at Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre. He’s capable of playing second and third base, and can handle all three outfield spots, which makes him a decently valuable piece of organizational depth.
Russo’s deal includes an invite to spring training, though he’s doubtful to crack the Opening Day roster.
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.