Link-O-Rama: Parra's collapse, Contreras' revival

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* Milwaukee dumping Manny Parra from the rotation
yesterday was a long time coming. Not only has he been awful recently,
going 0-4 with a 13.50 ERA over his last five starts, Parra is 5-14
with a 6.41 ERA since last season’s All-Star break. Prior to that he
was 8-2 with a 3.78 ERA, so the collapse has been pretty shocking.

* On the other hand, Jose Contreras has thrown 16 straight scoreless innings since returning from Triple-A after starting the season 0-5 with an 8.19 ERA.

* Much like with Brandon Wood, it sounds as though manager Mike Scioscia has no plans
to make call-up Sean Rodriguez a regular in the Angels’ lineup.
Rodriguez has hit .290/.377/.637 with 42 homers over 124 games in the
admittedly hitter-friendly environment at Triple-A, whereas Maicer
Izturis is a career .273/.338/.377 hitter in the majors.

* Rodriguez was called up because the Angels sent Howie Kendrick
back to Triple-A after he hit just .231 through 51 games this year.
Kendrick came into the season as a career .306 hitter in 252 games
through the age of 24. Here’s a list
of all the second basemen in baseball history who hit for a higher
batting average than Kendrick through the age of 24: Eddie Collins,
Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Rod Carew.

* Eric Chavez’s season is over and his career is seemingly in serious jeopardy following news that he needs a second back surgery to go along with his three shoulder operations. As manager Bob Geren put it: “This is his best chance to play again.”

* Joe Morgan’s mind is playing tricks on him.

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

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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.

Luis Valbuena to miss four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring

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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.