MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez reports that Athletics closer Sean Doolittle has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained intercostal muscle. Doolittle apparently suffered the injury on his second-to-last pitch against the Angels on Saturday night. The Athletics have recalled Dan Otero from Triple-A Sacramento.
Doolittle, in the first year of a five-year, $10.5 million contract extension signed back in April, has had a great season. He has saved 20 games with a 2.28 ERA and an 80/5 K/BB ratio over 55 1/3 innings.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Eric O’Flaherty will likely serve as the club’s closer while Doolittle is out.
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.