Bruce, Pence trying to bounce back with new teams this spring
Published 12:36 am Friday, March 15, 2019
AP Sports Writer
A weekly look at some of the standout players during spring training (through Wednesday):
JAY BRUCE, SEATTLE MARINERS, OF
The slugger, traded from the Mets, is hitting .433 with four doubles and two homers in 30 at-bats. He hit .223 with nine homers last year.
RONALD ACUNA, ATLANTA BRAVES, OF
The NL Rookie of Year looks like he’ll develop into one of the game’s top players . He iss batting .429 with three homers, two doubles and two stolen bases in 28 at-bats.
STEPHEN STRASBURG, WASHINGTON NATIONALS, RHP
The 30-year-old is 1.69 ERA and 13 strikeouts over 10 2/3 innings. The most important concern for the three-time All-Star is staying healthy. He is 51-22 in the past four seasons, spending time on the disabled list every year.
MARCUS STROMAN, TORONTO BLUE JAYS, RHP
The right-hander was selected as Toronto’s opening-day starter after striking out 13 over 12 1/3 innings with a 2.19 ERA. The 28-year-old is trying to bounce back from a rough 2018 in which he got hurt and was 4-9 with a 5.54 ERA in 19 starts. He topped 200 innings in both 2016 and 2017.
HUNTER PENCE, TEXAS RANGERS, OF
The 35-year-old struggled for the San Francisco Giants last year and signed a minor league deal with Texas in February . He is hitting .400 with four doubles, three homers and four stolen bases in 11 games.
GREG BIRD, NEW YORK YANKEES, 1B
The Bird vs. Luke Voit position battle at first base has been one of the big stories for the New York Yankees in spring training. The 26-year-old Bird is trying to win the job after struggling through three injury-filled years . He is hitting .357 with three doubles and a homer in 28 at-bats.
CHRIS PADDACK, SAN DIEGO PADRES, RHP
The 23-year-old has 20 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings. The Padres don’t have a lot of established starting pitching and Paddack, an eighth-round pick by the Miami Marlins in the 2015 amateur draft, could be an option . He has not pitched above Double-A.