I get a lot of press releases about promotional things, odd events, weird ceremonies, goodwill trips and the like. Most of them are kind of boring. This one is fun:
Red Sox relief pitchers Junichi Tazawa and closer Koji Uehara, who was named the American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player, and Wally the Green Monster will visit Tokyo to share the 2013 Commissioner’s Trophy, presented annually to the World Series Champions, with baseball fans in Japan.
Uehara and Wally will present the World Series trophy and a Red Sox jersey to the Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. Then there will be a reception with U.S. ambassador Caroline Kennedy. Then a fan reception and then a thing at at something I did not know existed: the MLB Café which is “an MLB themed restaurant serving a menu inspired by American ballpark food.”
Hope they have helmet nachos there. I’m never going to a country where I can’t be sure I can get helmet nachos.
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.