Scott Labuer of the Boston Herald shares the big news:
NEW YORK — Clay Buchholz’ long nightmare is over.
After missing three months with a shoulder injury that seemed like it would never heal, Buchholz is slated to start Tuesday night’s series opener against the Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla. As one final tuneup, he threw a bullpen session here today.
Buchholz opened the season 9-0 with a dominant 1.71 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 81/29 K/BB ratio over his first 84 1/3 innings, but he hasn’t appeared in a major league game since June 8.
“Mentally I’m ready,” Buchholz told reporters after his bullpen session Sunday morning at Yankee Stadium. “I think that’s what everyone was questioning — mental toughness and everything. But I know my body better than everybody else does. I’m comfortable pitching now. There’s nothing wrong that’s come up.”
Boston entered play Sunday with a huge 8.5-game lead in the American League East standings.
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.