Ted Lilly is currently pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League after missing all but five starts this year with neck problems that led to being released by the Dodgers in July.
In order to get healthy enough to return to the mound Lilly underwent a procedure to … well, I’ll let Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times explain:
Lilly is trying to regain his form in the Venezuelan Winter League after having the nerve endings on the right side of his neck cauterized by a spine specialist. The procedure is not considered surgery, but a large needle is used to burn nerve endings, his agent said.
Woof. Lilly is 38 years old with 13 seasons in the majors and $80 million in career earnings, so he must really like pitching.
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.