Yankees closer David Robertson is back from the disabled list after missing the past two weeks with a strained groin.
Shawn Kelley was the primary fill-in for Robertson, who took over the closer role on a full-time basis after five seasons as Mariano Rivera’s setup man. He made an appearance in extended spring training over the weekend to convince the Yankees he was ready to return.
If he can stay healthy Robertson has a chance to immediately emerge as one of the best closers in baseball. At age 29 he has a 2.74 ERA and 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings for his career, including a 2.04 ERA and 77/18 K/BB ratio in 66 innings last 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.