Remember when comedian Dennis Leary made everyone uncomfortable on TV a few years back because he assumed that Kevin Youkilis was Greek and then, when told he was Jewish, went on and on — maybe on a bit too much — about how awesome it was that the Red Sox’ first baseman was Jewish?
Well, Richard Sandomir of the New York Times has a story up about Youkilis’ family history, and it explains why, exactly, he has that Greek-sounding name. The short answer: it was supposed to be a Greek-sounding name for purposes of security and deception.
Read the story, but know this much: if it wasn’t for that unique family history, Sox fans would have shouted “Weeeeeiiiiineeerrr” when he came up to bat these past few years.
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.