In the top of the second of the first game of today’s day-night doubleheader against the White Sox, Twins outfielder Chris Colabello homered to right field off of Sox starter John Danks to stake his club to an early 1-0 lead. As the ball landed in the Twins bullpen, it appeared as if reliever Jared Burton sucker punched bullpen mate Brian Duensing in the face.
Phil Miller of the Star Tribune helps provide some context:
When Chris Colabello swung at the John Danks’ second-inning pitch in Game 1, Brian Duensing jumped up in the Twins’ bullpen and yelled at Jared Burton, “C’mon — Punch me! Punch me!”
And that’s how the Twins’ bullpen “brawl,” which you are guaranteed to see on sports highlight shows several times this weekend, got started.
Burton and Duensing have been planning the prank for awhile — since last season, actually, when former Twin Matt Maloney came up with the idea. Noting that relief pitchers are often seen in the background when a home run is hit into the bullpen, Maloney suggested they stage a fight for the cameras to pick up.
Now that is a heck of a prank. Kudos to Burton and Duensing.
(tip of the cap to /r/baseball for the .gif)
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.