Yasiel Puig does this so often. In the space of a couple of innings showing us everything that’s wonderful about him and showing us everything that he still has to learn.
Watch as, first, he fires a missile back to first base, nearly picking off Erick Aybar who had strayed too far off the bag on a fly to center. That’s what’s great. His aggressiveness and that arm which, occasionally, is going to make someone pay.
Then watch as he takes a mental break on another fly ball, allowing an alert and savvy Albert Pujols to tag up from first and go to second right in front of him despite the fact that he has walked and ran like Fred Sanford for about three or four years now.
Bonus: the Dikembe Mutumbo-style finger wag from Puig on the good play, and the “you got a lot to learn, son” head shaking from Pujols on the latter play. And of course, Vin Scully being on hand to describe it all.
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.