David Ross is returning from a concussion tonight but the Red Sox are far from healthy, placing Shane Victorino and Will Middlebrooks on the disabled list.
Victorino has a strained hamstring and Middlebrooks has lower back spasms, and Boston has added infielder Jose Iglesias and right-hander Alfredo Aceves from Triple-A to replace them.
Iglesias, who’s normally a slick-fielding (and weak-hitting) shortstop, is starting at third base tonight in place of Middlebrooks, who hit just .201 with a .642 OPS in 46 games following an impressive rookie campaign last year.
Aceves returns almost a month after being banished to Triple-A, where he started four games with a 3.13 ERA and 21/11 K/BB ratio in 23 innings. He had an 8.66 ERA in 18 innings for the Red Sox before the demotion.
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.