John Kruk once famously told a woman he was not an athlete, he was a ballplayer. Albert Pujols, in contrast, embraces the label of athlete.
We know this because He’s making a guest appearance on Sesame Street on Thursday, explaining to Grover what the word “athlete” means. And it’s fantastic:
- I’m going to start calling Grover “Mike Trout” because, like Trout, he flat carries Pujols here. But that’s not a shock. Grover is an 80-Muppet. He is so much better than just about every other Muppet there is. In a just world he’s making Elmo money. He’s that good;
- Watch Pujols look away at the cue card as he identifies himself by name. Seriously.
- “Yes. I train to play baseball. And I am good at baseball.” That’s quote of the year material there.
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.