“The D-Train” has at least one stop left.
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that Dontrelle Willis has agreed to a minor league contract with the Cubs, who originally drafted him back in 2000. The deal includes an invite to minor league camp, but he could get a chance in major league spring training if he’s throwing well.
Willis announced his retirement last July after posting an 8.53 ERA in four appearances with the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate, but he has had a change of heart. The southpaw hasn’t enjoyed any success in the big leagues for a long time, but it’s easy to forget that he’s just 30 years old. This is about as low-risk as minor league deals can get, so it’s worth a shot for all involved.
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.