At this point I like to imagine that Diamondbacks beat reporter Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic has the same routine so ingrained into his life that even on off days he wakes up, cooks a nice, sensible breakfast, and asks no one in particular “is Addison Reed still the closer?”
Today he asked that question of Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson, which he’s done seemingly a dozen times before, and the answer was the same as always: Yes.
Reed remains in the ninth-inning role despite blowing his fifth save of the season yesterday, serving up his ninth home run in just 36.2 innings while his ERA ballooned to 4.42.
Reed has always been an extreme fly-ball pitcher, which made him a poor fit for Arizona’s ballpark when the Diamondbacks acquired him from the White Sox this offseason, and for all the talk of his top-notch raw stuff and his impressive-looking save totals the 25-year-old right-hander now has a 4.23 ERA in 170 innings as a big leaguer.
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.