The Braves are in Philadelphia for the last time this season, which means they were running out of time to “take care of” the Phillie Phanatic. While the team was stretching at Citizens Bank Park prior to tonight’s 7:05 start, Braves outfielder Justin Upton and third baseman Chris Johnson teamed up for some shenanigans. Johnson surreptitiously crept behind the Phanatic and hunched over, then Upton pushed the Phanatic into Johnson, tipping him over embarrassingly.
This is mascot abuse and it will not be tolerated. I, for one, think the Braves should be banned from the playoffs. What say you, Craig?
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.