It was a day later, but yesterday the Tampa Bay Rays were still talking about John Lackey plunking Matt Joyce on Monday night. Here’s Rays’ infielder Sean Rodriguez speaking to Marc Topkin yesterday:
“It was very unmanlike to deny that you did it on purpose, that’s basically what I was addressing with him when we were on the field,” Rays infielder Sean Rodriguez said Tuesday. “I played with (Lackey), I thought he was more of a man. But maybe he’s changed, I don’t know.”
Joyce called Lackey throwing at him “a pretty bush league move.”
Maybe it was. God knows Lackey’s teammate David Ortiz routinely does the bat flipping that Lackey didn’t appreciate Joyce doing. But I sorta feel like you let these things go after a day.
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.