New Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon will have to fill a few more vacant coaching staff positions as he readies himself for the 2014 season in Seattle. Via Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times, the team fired pitching coach Carl Willis, demoted bullpen coach Jamie Navarro to the team’s Minor League system, and first base coach Mike Brumley left to join the Cubs as their assistant hitting coach.
The Mariners fired bench coach Robby Thompson before bringing McClendon on board. They also reassigned third base coach Jeff Datz to a scouting position. As a result, McClendon will get to almost entirely repopulate the coaching staff with his own selections. As Baker notes, only Daren Brown (who took over for Datz as third base coach), hitting coach Dave Hansen, and bullpen catcher Jason Phillips remain.
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.