Didn’t take too long for that dang, nagging hamstring to...well, hamstring new Angel Luis Valbuena again. For those of you playing at home, Valbuena’s 2016 was cut short after requiring surgery on the same hamstring last August. He had sit out a bit early on in Spring Training after some “leg tightness” and now he has a Grade 1 strain which should sideline him for 4-6 weeks.
This isn’t too shocking, it was a bit inauspicious when he came out of a game after just three innings the other day, now this report. Hopefully, this doesn’t foreshadow more hamstring issues moving forward seeing as Valbuena hasn’t even had an official at-bat in his 2-year deal (which includes an option for a third year).
99% of the Angels fanbase was in shock when the Angels signed Valbuena, the other 1% were probably asking, “who the hell is Luis Valbuena?” Well, he was the guy set to receive the majority of playing time at first base and act as some insurance for the gimpy Albert Pujols, but now the tables have turned. Most people, including myself, wondered how he’d fit on the roster, but were also thrilled to have actual arguments about having legitimate depth/options. In the worst way, this answers some of those questions. CJ Cron, who’s tearing the ball off the cover this spring, will be the everyday first baseman, Yunel Escobar will be the everyday third baseman, Pujols will do his thing at DH, and now Jefry Marte’s path to the roster potentially clears up a bit more.
This isn’t a great way to start out the contract, but the Angels finally have some pieces to alleviate any stress about a lack of depth. Cron and Escobar are Major League players (although you all know my feelings towards Yunel), Marte deserves an extended look, and unlike the teams pitching staff from 2016, it’s not Tommy John surgery! Rest up, Luis, just get that hamstring right. You’ll bring that sorely needed left-handed thump eventually and there are players ready to help step-in. We can always debate what happens with the lineups in 4-6 weeks.