Cliff Lee is slated to return from the disabled list one week from today against the Giants in Philadelphia, but Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com brings word that his final tuneup in the minors didn’t go smoothly.
Pitching for High-A Clearwater on Monday night, Lee was knocked around for eight runs — three earned — on eight hits and a walk over 4 2/3 innings. He also hit a batter. Following an error by shortstop prospect J.P Crawford, Lee gave up five runs in the first inning, including a two-run home run. No word yet on his velocity, but that’s an ugly outing no matter what. Lee now has a 5.06 ERA and 8/2 K/BB ratio in 10 2/3 innings over three rehab starts.
Lee hasn’t pitched in the majors since May 18 due to a flexor strain in his left elbow, but the timing of his return will allow him to make a couple of starts to prove his health and effectiveness in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Lee, 35, is owed around $12 million for the rest of this season and $25 million for next season while his contract includes a $27.5 million vesting option or $12.5 million buyout for 2016.
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.