Gerrit Cole struggled Tuesday in his second minor-league rehab start at Triple-A, so the Pirates will have the 23-year-old right-hander make at least one more appearance in the minors before returning from a strained lat muscle.
Cole gave up five runs on 10 hits in 4.2 innings, but manager Clint Hurdle spun things in a less negative light by saying that he was told to focus on repeating his delivery rather than getting batters out. Of course, it’d be more encouraging if Cole were able to do both at the same time.
That second rehab start had actually been pushed back, so clearly something isn’t quite right with Cole. If he struggles again in his third start, it might be time for Pirates fans to worry about what’s going on, exactly.
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.