You tend not to see much in the way of clubhouse drama in Philly. It’s a veteran-laden team with a manager whose teams have no real history of drama of any kind. So Jonathan Papelbon going on the radio and saying this is surprising to say the least:
Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon did not mince words this week when asked about what it is that his team lacks. “Since I’ve been here I haven’t seen any leadership,” Papelbon said.
He followed it up with vague comments about how the team has “more to lose than it has to prove” and about how he feels that he should have spoken up more than he did last year.
But really, the next time a relief pitcher is viewed as a team leader in a big league clubhouse will likely be the first time, and Papelbon likely knows that. As a result, it’s hard to see these comments as anything other than a criticism of Charlie Manuel, Jimmy Rollins and other Phillies vets.
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.