Last week several reports had the Rangers interested in A.J. Pierzynski and now Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago writes that the free agent catcher was in Texas to meet with the team today.
After losing Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli the Rangers have been looking for lineup help and the left-handed-hitting Pierzynski would be a nice fit among their mostly right-handed bats.
He’s coming off a career-year in which he hit .278 with 27 homers and an .827 OPS in 135 games for the White Sox, but 35-year-old catchers tend not to be such good bets and Pierzynski last topped an .800 OPS in 2003.
Right now Geovany Soto sits top the Rangers’ catching depth chart, but a Pierzynski-Soto platoon could be very productive matched up based on lefties/righties.
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.