Aviles set for season-ending Tommy John surgery

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After six years in the minors Mike Aviles came out of nowhere last
season to hit .325 in 102 games as a 27-year-old rookie, finishing
fourth in the AL Rookie of the Year balloting and seemingly
establishing himself as the Royals’ shortstop for the near future.

This season has unfortunately been a completely different story for
Aviles, as he batted just .183 through 36 games before landing on the
disabled list in mid-May with a strained forearm. His forearm soreness
turned out to be a torn elbow ligament and the Royals announced this afternoon that Aviles will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery.

While hitters tend to come back from Tommy John surgery sooner and more
easily than pitchers, Aviles is still facing at least nine months of
rehab and an uncertain future. He’s unlikely to be ready for Opening
Day next April and could easily be sidelined for much of the first
half, which means that Aviles will be 29 years old by the time he puts
on a Royals uniform again.

Aviles’ minor-league resume suggested that he was playing quite a
bit over his head as a rookie, but his track record definitely showed
that he was capable of being a solid player. Sadly, after playing over
600 games in the minors before making it the big leagues he’s now
facing a long road back to the majors and the Royals are left with the motley crew of Willie Bloomquist, Tony Pena Jr., and Luis Hernandez at shortstop.

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.