From Dylan Hernandez at the Los Angeles Times:
PHOENIX — In the clubhouse a day before position players were scheduled to report for spring training, Hanley Ramirez said Wednesday he wanted to be “a Dodger for life.”
But Ramirez otherwise declined to talk about his contractual status, saying with a smile, “I’m a baseball player.”
It was reported in late January that Ramirez and the Los Angeles front office were in the “early stages” of extension negotiations, and it stands to reason that the discussions will get more serious once all of the parties involved settle into spring camp.
Ramirez, 30, hit .345/.402/.638 with 20 home runs and 10 stolen bases in 86 games last season.
He is currently scheduled to hit the free agent market five days after the 2014 World Series.
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.