File this one away in the “statistically improbable” folder, next to the report of Phillies outfielder Richie Ashburn striking the same fan twice with a foul ball. On Saturday night, Astros minor leaguer Conrad Gregor belted his first Midwest League home run. After the ball cleared the fence, a man in a hat made a barehanded basket catch of the ball. That man? Gregor’s father, MiLB.com’s Josh Jackson reports.
According to the newspaper, Marty Gregor and Conrad’s mom came to Davenport, Iowa, for the Memorial Day weekend series, making the nearly five-hour drive from Carmel, Indiana. The 22-year-old first baseman made Saturday extra special by sparking a comeback win and sending his father a souvenir with one swing of the bat.
“He may have to watch every game from out there,” Gregor joked.
“It’s a little unbelievable, but I’m glad my parents were here to see it,” Gregor told the newspaper, “and when I got back to the dugout, I heard he made a pretty good catch.”
Watch Gregor’s blast:
Gregor, a 22-year-old first baseman, entered Sunday’s action slashing .307/.413/.425 in 184 plate appearances on the season with Single-A Quad Cities.
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.