Mets right-hander Matt Harvey was already the logical favorite to start for the National League since the All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field in New York this year, but this news pretty much seals it.
According to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com, the Cardinals have rearranged their rotation so that ace right-hander Adam Wainwright will start two times before the All-Star break. Because he’s now lined up to pitch next Sunday, he will not pitch in the All-Star Game two days later. The American League squad will be happy to hear that.
Wainwright was arguably Harvey’s biggest competition for the starting assignment, as he’s 11-5 with a 2.36 ERA and 117/13 K/BB ratio over 133 2/3 innings this season. Clayton Kershaw, Cliff Lee, Jordan Zimmermann, and Patrick Corbin are also having excellent seasons, but it’s hard to see Giants manager Bruce Bochy going with anyone other than Harvey at this point.
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.