The Athletics are looking to sweep the Rangers in Arlington and push their division lead to 6 1/2 games, but the hot-hitting Yoenis Cespedes was scratched before Sunday’s series finale and now an emergency starting pitcher is going to be taking the mound.
From MLB.com’s Jane Lee comes word that righty Jarrod Parker will not make his scheduled Sunday start because of an illness. Tommy Milone, who was moved to the bullpen in late August and owns a 4.61 ERA in the second half, will get the nod instead.
Parker is 5-0 with a stellar 2.40 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 42/13 K/BB ratio over 56 1/3 innings since August 3.
Assuming it’s the flu, he should be able to take his turn early this week.
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.