There aren’t any changes in the American League All-Star balloting from last week, but tonight’s update shows that there are still a few positions up for grabs.
The most high-profile one is at shortstop, where Derek Jeter holds a slim lead over Alexei Ramirez. Ramirez obviously has a strong case based on his half-season stats — he’s having a wonderful year — but Jeter still figures to pull away in his final season. It’s just taking a little longer than you’d expect.
Jose Bautista, the AL’s leading vote-getter, and Mike Trout are in fine position to start in the outfield, but the third spot is still wide open. Melky Cabrera leads the way while Yoenis Cespedes, Adam Jones, and Jacoby Ellsbury aren’t too far behind. Second base and the DH spot are also still pretty competitive.
It’s worth noting that Matt Wieters, who will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery tomorrow, still has the lead at the catcher position. Brian McCann ranks second and Derek Norris is in third. Check out the full update below:
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.