Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto continues to search for bullpen help after missing out on Japanese reliever Kyuji Fujikawa.
Fujikawa chose the Cubs, perhaps in part because he wanted a chance to be a closer and the Angels had just signed Ryan Madson to more or less fill that role.
Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com says Dipoto’s fallback plan includes left-hander Sean Burnett and right-hander Mike Adams, both of whom have been excellent setup men for years. Joakim Soria was another Dipoto target, but like Fujikawa he may not be an option for the Angels because he wants to close.
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.