And just like that, all the drama about the Dodgers benching Matt Kemp is a moot point.
Carl Crawford left last night’s game with a sprained ankle and is likely headed to the disabled list, which means the Dodgers are down to three healthy big-name outfielders and Kemp–who sat out five straight games as a healthy scratch–is no longer relegated to bench duties.
Crawford hasn’t been very productive this season, hitting .267 with four homers and a .693 OPS in 44 games before the injury. By comparison Kemp has a .775 OPS in 43 games and while manager Don Mattingly has apparently soured on the idea of using Kemp as a regular center fielder at this point he’s certainly a quality defender in a corner outfield spot.
It took an injury for the Dodgers to start playing their $160 million former MVP runner-up again, but they might be a better team for it.
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.