Angels starter Joe Blanton has the third-worst ERA in baseball at 5.66. That, and a recent confrontation with pitching coach Mike Butcher, are reasons the Angels are looking to remove him from the rotation.
Via MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez and William Boor:
“We’re working on a couple things now,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’re going to see where we are and we’ll have a decision.”
“Joe has put every effort into trying to be the pitcher he can be,” Scioscia said. “Right now, it’s very clear he is struggling with some of the basic things he needs to do to be that pitcher.”
Blanton is scheduled to start on Saturday in Oakland against the Athletics. The Angels are in a tough spot since they don’t have many options to jump into the rotation and contribute on a long-term basis. And they’re not in a position where they want to trade for a pitcher considering their record and standing as it pertains to the AL West and Wild Card races.
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.