Geoff Baker allowed Eric Wedge to expand on his controversial comments from the other day in which he appeared to accuse sabermetrics of ruining Dustin Ackley, leading to his demotion. The nut:
“When I bust somebody’s chops or make a joke about it, you can take it in a light-hearted way or you can take it personally. Quite frankly, I don’t care either way. But the fact of the matter is, sabermetrics is a part of the game of baseball. It has been for a while.”
He expands on that at length, talking about how the numbers do matter and how he has used analytics while managing the Indians and the Mariners. All he’s saying is that the player can’t let getting deep into counts get too far into his head if it means he isn’t going after pitches he is capable of hitting squarely.
Which is entirely reasonable. It’s not at all what he said the other day — and I didn’t detect any jokes in his comments from the other day — but this seems like a much better hill to die on for Wedge than the one he was defending previously.
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.