From Jon Heyman of CBS Sports comes word that the Yankees have agreed to a one-year contract with utilityman Kelly Johnson. It’s believed to be worth about $3 million and is only pending a physical.
Johnson, who can play third base, second base and some corner outfield, batted .235/.305/.410 with 16 home runs and 52 RBI in 118 games this past season for the Rays. He can provide insurance for the Yankees at multiple positions of current need.
Johnson is a .253/.335/.427 career hitter at the major league level. He averages 19 homers per 162 games, but plate discipline is an issue.
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.