This afternoon’s series finale between the Mariners and Angels was delayed for 23 minutes in the third inning due to a swarm of bees in the outfield. That didn’t stop Mariners starter Felix Hernandez from putting on a show in his first start since suffering a strained oblique.
Hernandez punched out 10 Angel batters in four innings, setting a record for strikeouts in a start lasting four or fewer innings. As the Mariners didn’t want to tax their phenom pitcher so soon after an injury, Hernandez was lifted from the game and reliever Oliver Perez pitched the fifth inning.
Watch the bees cause havoc below:
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.