The Red Sox caught University of Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel by surprise when they picked him in the 29th round last month:
Now they also have him signed, WEEI’s Alex Speier reported on Wednesday. The deal won’t take Driskel away from Gainesville; he’s set to be the Gators’ starting quarterback this fall. He’s not currently particularly well regarded as an NFL prospect, though that could change if he makes enough progress over the next two years. If not, then he could give baseball a try. He was viewed as a pretty good prospect as a center fielder in high school, though since he was a top-five quarterback recruit and everyone knew he was off to Florida, he went undrafted then.
If Driskel someday reaches the majors, he’d be the second former Florida quarterback to do so. Herbert Perry was a backup for the Gators (and teammate of Emmitt Smith) in 1987-88. He played for four major league teams from 1994-2004.
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.