Nothing is official yet, but Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports what everyone has been assuming: Matt Harvey will start the All-Star game for the National League in his home ballpark.
Harvey is certainly deserving of the assignment, posting a 2.55 ERA and league-leading 147 strikeouts in a dominant first half at age 24, although former Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers leads the NL with a 1.98 ERA (and has 139 strikeouts) and the story would probably be a whole lot different if the All-Star game were being playing at Dodger Stadium.
Whatever the case, it should be a pretty cool scene when Harvey takes the mound at Citi Field.
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.