Lana Berry made a great, albeit depressing observation during the Rays-Angels game last night:
holy s***. Rays played Josh Lueke, Delmon Young, Luke Scott, and Yunel Escobar in the same game. they are really just…going for it, huh?
And by “going for it” she means the good citizen award. Lueke, as most know by now, is a sex offender. Young had his little drunken anti-semitic incident in New York. Yunel Escobar you may know from his homophobic eye black. Luke Scott is baseball’s most famous birther who keeps guns in his couch cushions and once cautioned a black teammate from acting like a “savage” and an “animal.”
Quite a group of citizens on the Rays these days. Makes me wish that old Devil Rays prospect Elijah Dukes and Toe Nash were on the club as elder statesmen. Also makes me wonder which baseball team had the greatest number of criminals, knuckleheads and controversy-creators on the roster at the same time. I guess it depends on whether you consider the early-80s Pirates cocaine use a character issue or one in which guys were afflicted with addiction.
The Rays are certainly something, though.
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.