Rangers outfielder Alex Rios became the third player this year to hit for the cycle Monday, doing so in just six innings against the hapless Astros.
Oddly enough, all three cycles this year have been contained entirely within the AL West. The Angels’ Mike Trout had one in May against the Mariners, and the Astros’ Brandon Barnes delivered one in July, also versus Seattle.
It hadn’t been too long since the Rangers had experienced a cycle: Adrian Beltre had one last August.
Rios now has 30 doubles, four triples and 18 homers this season. He’s hit .288 with six homers and 13 steals in 160 at-bats since the Rangers acquired him from the White Sox last month.
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.