Julio Franco was still playing in the majors at age 48–and still playing really well at age 46–and now seven years after retiring he’s ready to put on a uniform again to play some independent ball.
According to Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas the now 55-year-old Franco will serve as a player-manager for the Fort Worth Cats of the independent United Baseball League, with his first game slated for next Tuesday.
Franco is planning to play just one homestand, but as someone who’s still holding out hope that Jamie Moyer might take the mound again somewhere I think it’s pretty cool.
Here’s the official press release, which includes Franco saying that he looks forward to working with “the younger players.” Because there can’t be any older players, really.
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.