As first reported by Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish, the Braves have reached agreement on a minor league contract with first baseman Mark Hamilton.
Hamilton was a second-round pick of the Cardinals in the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft. He appeared in 47 games for St. Louis between the 2010 and 2011 seasons but has not been back to the bigs since.
The 29-year-old batted .265/.365/.458 with 12 home runs and 60 RBI in 89 games this past season for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox and Boston’s Triple-A affiliate in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
Hamilton will function as organizational depth at first base for the Braves in 2014.
His minor league deal includes an invitation to spring training.
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.