Carlos Ruiz will head to Clearwater, Florida to take batting practice and work on blocking baseballs for a few days with the intent of beginning a rehab assignment on Friday, according to Corey Seidman of CSN Philly. Ruiz has been out since June 26, when he was hit in the head by a pitch against the Marlins.
Ruiz, 35, is in the first year of a three-year, $26 million contract signed last November. The catcher hasn’t shown much power, but has been their best player in the on-base department. In 273 plate appearances, he has two home runs, 14 RBI, and a .257/.363/.357 slash line.
Ruiz’s back-up, Wil Nieves, has been out since June 19 with a strained quad. As a result, the Phillies have had to resort to utilizing their third- and fourth-string catchers, Cameron Rupp and Koyie Hill.
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.