According to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, Jeff Mathis suffered a broken collarbone when he was hit by a foul tip during the fourth inning of today’s Grapefruit League opener against the Cardinals. The injury will sideline him for around six weeks, which means he’ll likely begin the season on the disabled list.
Mathis was acquired by the Marlins this winter in the big 12-player trade that sent Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and Emilio Bonifacio to Toronto. The 29-year-old backstop batted .218/.249/.393 with eight home runs and a .642 OPS in 227 plate appearances last season and threw out 41 percent of attempted basestealers.
Mathis was projected to open the season as the backup to young Rob Brantly, but the Marlins could now be on the lookout for some veteran insurance behind the plate. Kyle Skipworth is the only other catcher on the 40-man roster.
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.