Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, currently serving a season-long suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs and his role in the Biogenesis scandal, is already preparing for a return to baseball next season. George A. King III of the New York Post reports that the slugger has been working out at the University of Miami and at UCLA in Los Angeles.
King adds that Rodriguez has hit off a tee, taken ground balls, and lifted weights. He has not yet faced live pitching.
Rodriguez, who turned 39 years old on July 27, is still owed $61 million between 2015-17, not including “milestone” incentives for reaching 660, 714, 755, 762, and 763 career home runs. He currently has 654, six shy of tying Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time list.
In 181 plate appearances with the Yankees in the final two months of the 2013 season, Rodriguez compiled seven home runs and 19 RBI with a .244/.348/.423 slash line.
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.