Mike Minor fell behind in his offseason training program after a painful-sounding surgery for a urinary tract infection in late December and showed up to camp with some shoulder soreness, but he’s beginning to make some progress.
According to Mark Bowman of MLB.com, Minor is scheduled to throw live batting practice Monday for the first time this spring. He was cleared to face hitters after making it through four recent bullpen sessions with no issues.
It’s unclear how batting practice sessions Minor will have to complete before he gets into a game, but the Braves aren’t going to take any chances following the injuries to Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy. The best-case scenario is that he’ll join the rotation when the team needs a fifth starter for the first time on April 12 against the Nationals. The recently-signed Ervin Santana could also be ready around that time.
Minor, 26, posted a 3.21 ERA and 181/46 K/BB ratio over 204 2/3 innings 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.