Scott Kazmir was the story of the spring, earning a spot in the Indians’ starting rotation after posting a 3.46 ERA and 13/1 K/BB ratio in 13 Cactus League innings. But this comeback tale is now on hold.
Kazmir suffered a strained abdomen Monday during a team workout. He was able to make it through a bullpen session on Wednesday, but the Indians are going to play it safe and skip his first turn Saturday night against the Rays, according to Nick Camino of WTAM 1100. Kazmir will undergo an MRI on Thursday in Cleveland to rule out anything serious.
The 29-year-old left-hander signed a minor league contract with the Tribe in late December after spending the 2012 season with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League.
The Indians have not announced a fill-in starter but will do so Thursday.
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.