Johan Santana has been making steady progress in his recovery from multiple shoulder surgeries, but he’s clearly not ready to return to the majors yet and so the Orioles are trying to convince the two-time Cy Young winner to push back the opt-out clause in his contract that goes into effect at midnight today.
Executive vice president Dan Duquette told Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun that the Orioles “think we’ll be able to work something out” with Santana before tonight’s deadline, which makes sense considering the reports last week that they could be planning to call him up to the majors as soon as mid-June.
Initially there was some talk of Santana potentially coming back as a reliever, but he’s looked good enough and stayed healthy enough that the Orioles now have him working as a starter. His velocity has been in the high-80s and, for whatever it’s worth, his results in extended spring training games were very positive.
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.