J.P. Arencibia has proven to be not much of a hitter with a career .208 batting average and .662 OPS, but last night the 28-year-old catcher/first baseman made his pitching debut for the Rangers and looked pretty decent.
Arencibia tossed a scoreless ninth inning with the Rangers down 10-1 to the Rays, recording three outs on just 10 pitches while working around a Logan Forsythe infield single. He threw all fastballs, averaging 72.6 miles per hour and topping out at 74.2 mph.
He’s the third position player to pitch for the Rangers this season, which in itself says a lot about how many times Texas has been blown out.
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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.