David Ortiz homered this afternoon in a Triple-A game and declared his minor-league rehab assignment over, telling Tim Britton of the Providence Journal: “I think I go back to the big team tomorrow. … It’s time.”
Ortiz and the Red Sox have targeted Friday as his return date for a while now, but some recent heel soreness put that in question briefly. Ortiz went 4-for-18 overall on his rehab stint and indicated that he’ll need occasional days off, but feels he’s ready to hit. His last MLB game was August 24 and he’s played just one MLB game since mid-July.
Boston has primarily used Jonny Gomes and Daniel Nava at designated hitter, with Mike Napoli also making a pair of starts there. Ortiz’s return likely means Jackie Bradley Jr. will head back to Triple-A and Gomes and Nava will split time in left field.
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.