From FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal comes word that the Braves “have shown interest” in acquiring left-handed reliever Joe Thatcher from the Padres.
Rosenthal notes that other teams are in the mix.
Thatcher, 31, has posted a dominant 2.15 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 29/4 K/BB ratio in 29 1/3 innings of relief this season for San Diego while holding left-handed batters to a .190/.235/.206 slash line. He’s making $1.35 million this summer and will be arbitration-eligible for third and final time heading into 2014.
A shutdown lefty specialist would be the perfect pickup for a first-place Atlanta team that appears capable of a late postseason run.
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.