MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports that Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton could make his Cactus League debut on Sunday afternoon against the Mariners. Hamilton has been dealing with a strained calf suffered at the end of February. If he avoids any further setbacks, he should still be able to join the team when they open up the regular season at the end of the month.
Hamilton, 32, was a shadow of his former self last season, declining across the board but particularly in the power department. Despite taking equally as many plate appearances in 2012 and ’13, Hamilton hit half as many home runs (43 to 21) and his slugging percentage dropped from .577 to .432. The Angels still owe him $15 million for the 2014 season and an additional $30 million in each of 2016 and ’17.
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.