After the awful week Boston has had, you couldn’t have asked for a better way to get back on track. Neil Diamond showed up at Fenway Park today unannounced, just in time for the start of the Royals-Red Sox game.
MLB.com’s Jason Mastrodonato reports:
Neil Diamond called the switchboard at Fenway Park at about 12:30 p.m. ET on Saturday afternoon.
“Hey, I’m here,” he said, according to Red Sox officials. “Can I come sing?”
“Sweet Caroline” has been played at ballparks throughout the nation in support of Boston after the reign of terror that locked down the city for five days and it was finally played at the ballpark that adopted the song in 2002. Diamond performed the song after the top of the eighth inning. Fittingly, the Sox scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a 4-2 lead, and held on to win 4-3.
Watch Diamond’s performance:
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.