42-year-old Jose Contreras was trying to pitch his way onto the Rangers’ roster in March, but ultimately fell short. The right-hander posted a 10.50 ERA in six innings in the Cactus League, which led the Rangers to inform him in mid-March that he wasn’t making the team. That was the final leg in the veteran’s 11-year big league career, or so we thought.
Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish reports that Contreras is not retiring. In fact, he is looking for opportunities in Japan while pitching in Mexico.
It’s unlikely that Contreras will pitch in the Majors again, but stranger things have happened. In five innings at the big league level with the Pirates last season, Contreras allowed five runs on seven hits and six walks in five innings.
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.