My friend Michele has a son named Whitaker who is into baseball. Really into baseball. Like, I can’t tell you how much he’s into baseball. He plays on a traveling team called the Central Ohio Saints. Go to that link. Of the two tall kids, he’s the one on the left. By the way: he’s 12, so yeah, he’s gonna totally be starting at first base for the Reds around the time Joey Votto retires. Or, I dunno, as you can see, he pitches too, so maybe he’ll be CC Sabathia.
The upshot: baseball is really a big deal for Whitaker and you’re probably gonna see that kid get drafted some day.
He’s also a huge Reds fan. Billy Hamilton is his favorite player. His mom is an MVP, though. Here’s the note that she sent with him to school today:
That’s right. “An appointment with Mr. Redlegs.” His mom is bailing him out of school so he can go to a party with his teammates to watch the Reds game at 4pm.
Mom of the Year.
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.