Two months after lacerating a tendon in his right thumb while on a hunting trip Padres right-hander Andrew Cashner described himself as “ready to go” and said he expects to be ready for Opening Day.
Back in early December he was dressing a deer he’d killed when his friend slipped and punctured Cashner’s thumb with a knife. It required surgery and Cashner was initially given a three-month recovery timetable.
Barring a setback it sounds likely that he’ll begin the season on the active roster, although his role remains unclear because Cashner may be a little behind other pitchers in building up arm strength. Cashner told Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune that he’d prefer to start, but general manager Josh Byrnes indicated that relief work could be the plan early on.
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.