Outfielder Nate Schierholtz has joined the Nationals for Saturday afternoon’s match-up against the Giants, getting the call-up from Triple-A Syracuse, per CSN Washington’s Mark Zuckerman. Schierholtz was released by the Cubs on August 13 and joined the Nationals as a free agent on August 18, reporting to Syracuse for four games. Nate McLouth was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster for Schierholtz, also per Zuckerman. The Nationals optioned Michael Taylor back to Syracuse to create 25-man roster space.
Schierholtz provides a left-handed bat off of the bench for the NL East-leading Nationals. The 30-year-old has struggled this season, hitting only six home runs with 33 RBI and a .192/.240/.300 slash line.
However, over his career, Schierholtz has been relatively productive against right-handed pitching. He has a career .722 OPS against right-handers compared to .650 against southpaws.
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.