The other day Evan Longoria offered some strange words for former teammates James Shields and B.J. Upton, strongly implying that, now that they were gone, all the bad juju from the Devil Rays era was gone, as those two has some things in their head “that were tough for them to get beyond.” Never mind that Joe Maddon was around in the Devil Rays days too. Whatever he was getting at, the comments seemed either shallow or critical, depending on how much benefit of the doubt you’re inclined to give Longoria.
For his part, James Shields doesn’t understand them. From the KC Star:
“It’s disappointing,” Shields said. “I’m a little bit surprised. Evan is a great player, but I really don’t know what he’s talking about. I really don’t, and I’m being honest with you … “I don’t know where he was coming from with that,” Shields said, “but, frankly, I really don’t care. I’m more worried about the Kansas City Royals, and what we’re doing here. I felt my time in Tampa Bay was a good time. I felt my leadership over there was sufficient. But I’m moving on. This is my team over here.”
Anyone wanna give Longoria another bite at that apple?
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.