Derek Jeter continues to make encouraging progress from left ankle surgery. According to the Associated Press, Jeter did on-field running and agility drills with teammates this morning for the first time since he broke his ankle during the ALCS last October.
Jeter didn’t travel with the Yankees for their exhibition opener today and isn’t expected to make his Grapefruit League debut until sometime in March. Still, he hasn’t encountered any setbacks until this point and is determined to be in the starting lineup for Opening Day on April 1 against the Red Sox.
Jeter, 38, batted .316/.362/.429 with 15 home runs, 58 RBI and a .791 OPS last season. He’ll make $17 million this season and holds a $9.5 million player option for 2014.
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.