Released by the Cardinals when they signed A.J. Pierzynski, journeyman catcher George Kottaras has joined the Blue Jays on a minor-league contract.
Kottaras has a solid .740 career OPS in 309 games, which is actually above average for a starting catcher and very strong for a backup, but his poor defense and low batting averages have caused him to endlessly bounce around from organization to organization.
Since the end of last season he’s been with the Royals, Cubs, Indians, Cardinals, and now Blue Jays, and previously the 31-year-old also played for the A’s, Padres, Red Sox, and Brewers.
For now he’ll head to Triple-A, where Kottaras has logged 1,124 career plate appearances in parts of six different seasons.
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.