Jim Johnson worked out for the Orioles after being released by the A’s and most people assumed he was ready for a reunion in Baltimore, but not so fast says Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.
Johnson has signed a minor-league deal with the Tigers, where he joins Joe Nathan, Joakim Soria, and Joba Chamberlain in a bullpen that’s been overhauled since last year.
Johnson was a mess in Oakland, posting a 7.14 ERA in 38 appearances, but he saved 101 games as the Orioles’ closer in 2012-2013 and came into this season with a lifetime 3.11 ERA in 360 games.
As a $10 million closer he was a disaster for the A’s. As a minimum-salaried middle reliever he might prove useful for the Tigers. And maybe he’ll get a chance to face the A’s in the playoffs.
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.