Oscar Taveras’ ankle problems have lingered following last season’s surgery and now the stud outfield prospect is having hamstring issues in the same leg, so it sounds like the Cardinals have all but ruled out his making the team.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Taveras “needed for everything to go right” to make the team out of spring training to begin with and the injuries have made it impossible to see him in game action.
Which is no big deal as long as Taveras can eventually get healthy, because he’s still just 21 years old, still one of the best prospects in baseball, and still could benefit from some time at Triple-A after missing all but 46 games there last season.
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.