Luis Valbuena might make his debut with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim as soon as next week. Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reported that the Venezuelan will join Class-A Island Empire to begin his rehab assignment.
The third baseman suffered a Grade 1 strain in his right hamstring during Spring Training, after agreeing a three-year,$23 million contract in January. Valbuena spent two years with the Houston Astros, before becoming a free agent, where he blasted 38 home runs, drove in 96 runs, hit 35 doubles, scored 100 runs and slashed .238/.329/.446.
It is highly expected that Mike Scoscia will use the Venezuelan far more often against right-handed pitchers, as he has a better lifelong performance against righties tan he has against left-handed pitchers. Valbuena has smashed 70 out of his 93 homers in the MLB against right pitchers, and he has .722 OPS against righties as opposed to a .666 OPS against left-handers.
This pattern has been highlighted during the past couple of seasons.
Valbuena had an .808 OPS and an .841 OPS in 2015 and 2016 respectively against right-handed pitchers, versus a .581 OPS and a .741 OPS against lefties during the same span of time. He blasted 38 homers for the Houston Astros, out of which only seven happened against left-handers. This emphasizes the fact that he should be played against righties more often than not.
In the meantime, Valbuena will play between five and seven games in the minor leagues before making his debut with the Angels, which is bound to happen at any given time during the following week.