Texas’ never-ending roster shuffling continues, as the Rangers have activated catcher Geovany Soto from the disabled list, called up catcher/first baseman J.P. Arencibia from Triple-A, and designated first baseman Carlos Pena for assignment.
Soto has missed the entire season following spring training knee surgery, but now figures to get the bulk of the playing time behind the plate over Robinson Chirinos.
Arencibia has been a career-long catcher, except he was horrible defensively and of late the Rangers have been using him as a first baseman at Triple-A. Which is fine, except he’s also a terrible hitter. He has 20-homer power, but Arencibia has hit .208 with a ghastly .255 on-base percentage and .655 OPS in 400 games through age 28, posting a hideous 415/77 K/BB ratio.
Pena was signed to a minor-league deal and then quickly promoted to the majors last month, but he hit .136 in 18 games and may simply be finished at age 36. Arencibia will presumably replace him in the lineup, but Arencibia as a regular first baseman could be one of the worst players in the league.
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.