The Tigers’ clubhouse was closed this morning and that means cuts. One cut that is somewhat surprising: reliever Bruce Rondon, who the Tigers had given every opportunity to win the closer’s job this spring. But he’s headed to Toledo and the Tigers are going to go with a closer-by-committee setup.
Rondon is immensely talented, but he had an erratic spring. Rough going early, but then he righted the ship somewhat. Overall he struck out 18 batters in 11 and two-thirds innings this spring. But he walked nine and gave up 15 base hits. That’s a recipe for a lot of antacids for Jim Leyland in the ninth inning, and it seems he just didn’t want to deal with that yet.
Rondon will eventually be pitching in late innings in Detroit. For now, though, it’s going to be some mix of Phil Coke, Joaquin Benoit and Al Albuquerque handling closing duties.
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.