Well, technically, it was 2 hours and 10 minutes. Still, it was a breeze.
Toronto’s R.A. Dickey, finally throwing his knuckler with authority again, pitched a two-hitter Wednesday against the Rays for his first shutout and complete game of the season. Dickey entered with a 5.15 ERA in 16 starts. He had three shutouts and five complete games while winning NL Cy Young honors last season.
Largely due to a back injury, Dickey hasn’t been throwing his knuckleball as hard this year as he was previously. Today, though, he was often hitting 77-78 mph on the gun with the pitch, which is about what he averaged last year. And he was still getting great movement, obviously. He ended up striking out six and walking one.
Dickey threw just 93 pitches on the day, the second lowest total in a complete-game this season. The Nationals’ Jordan Zimmermann threw 91 pitches in his one-hit shutout against the Reds on April 26.
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.