A disappointing day for the Royals got worse late Thursday night, as the team discovered that first baseman Eric Hosmer could miss 3-4 weeks with a stress fracture in his hand.
It’s an especially poorly-timed injury with the trade deadline having just passed. Worse, the Royals recently traded Danny Valencia to the Blue Jays for catcher Erik Kratz, denying them their best fallback option at first base. They’ll most likely turn to Raul Ibanez for now. They could later explore a deal for Boston’s Mike Carp or Seattle’s Corey Hart once waivers go through.
Hosmer has had a disappointing year, but he was the Royals’ best player of late, hitting .377/.436/.551 with two homers in 21 games this month. Ibanez is hitting .209/.244/.372 in 43 at-bats since joining the Royals and .167/.255/.287 in 209 at-bats this year.
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.