UPDATE: Salisbury says it’s a done deal and McClure is the Phillies’ new pitching coach.
Numerous candidates have turned down a chance to become the Phillies’ new pitching coach, but Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that Bob McClure “has become the lead candidate” for the job.
McClure has served as a pitching coach for the Rockies, Royals, and Red Sox, but was fired by Boston in August of 2012 amid the Bobby Valentine-related mess and there were reports suggesting he was the leak of behind-the-scenes clubhouse details that surfaced.
Setting that aside, McClure has a ton of experience as a big-league pitching coach and … well, the Phillies are running out of other options at this point. Plus, just look at that mustache.
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.