Via Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
The Cardinals have not yet determined when they will use a fifth starter in the coming weeks, but they know who will be added to the rotation when they do.
Joe Kelly, who held the Cardinals in Friday’s game with five shutout innings of emergency relief, will get the next open start once the Cardinals figure out how to navigate three off days coming in the next nine days.
Tyler Lyons had been filling that role for the Cards but was optioned to Triple-A Memphis on Saturday after posting a rough 5.51 ERA over his first six starts.
Kelly, who was stretched out as a starter this spring before ultimately settling into a long relief role, owns a 3.69 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and 101/44 K/BB ratio in 139 career MLB innings. He was a third-round pick in ’09.
If Kelly doesn’t work out, the Cardinals can either turn to Carlos Martinez or back to Michael Wacha.
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.