Brennan Boesch was one of the worst regulars in baseball last season, hitting .240 with a .659 OPS in 503 plate appearances for the Tigers, and heads into this season projected to be a bench player.
However, hitting coach Lloyd McClendon is optimistic that he fixed Boesch’s swing during the offseason, telling Tom Gage of the Detroit News:
I am extremely excited about Brennan Boesch. It’s about the work we’ve already done in Detroit and the work that he’s done in the offseason. I look forward to building on that. This guy has a high ceiling.
I would not call it an epiphany, but Brennan certainly understood he had to work on some things. Sitting there being ineligible for the playoffs had to weigh on him heavily. You’ll see better balance, a shorter stride and shorter stroke. But I don’t think you’ll see a lot of differences in his stance. He’s just going back to what he was doing when he was doing well. He’s gotten a lot of different voices out of his head, so to speak.
Hopefully it’s only “so to speak” with those voices in his head, because schizophrenia seems like a much bigger deal than an unbalanced swing.
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.