The Reds had their annual Caravan thingie over the weekend. Stops in Columbus and Dayton with appearances before thousands of fans. I didn’t go this weekend, but I’ve been to it and other things like it before. They’re cool enough.
But I’ve never witnessed quite this level of adoration:
Fans lined up in the bitter cold a full four hours before the event started. At other stops a woman fainted and girls cried in the presence of Reds all-star second baseman Brandon Phillips. On Sunday, he received a marriage proposal.
Phillips isn’t married, but I wonder if he was whether they’d hide his wife like Cynthia Lennon so as not to disappoint all of the screaming girls.
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.