Pujols to have injured elbow examined by Dr. James Andrews

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Albert Pujols declined to undergo Tommy John surgery last winter and there’s no indication that he’ll opt for the procedure this offseason, but he is scheduled to have his injured right elbow examined next week by Dr. James Andrews.
Tommy John surgery is much easier on hitters than pitchers, but Pujols would still be facing 6-8 months of rehab that would likely sideline him well into next season. In other words, expect him to continue playing through the pain.
“It’s definitely something we’re aware of and are keeping tabs on,” general manager John Mozeliak said. “This isn’t a new condition, but it is something all of us want to monitor.”
Pujols went homerless in his final 89 at-bats, which is a career-long drought, but has insisted that the injury wasn’t to blame. However, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch notes that “weight training causes the right elbow more discomfort than baseball-related activities” and “an abbreviated weight program contributed to Pujols’ thickening waist as the season progressed.”
In addition to the season-ending drought, Pujols homered once every 17.4 at-bats overall in the second half after going deep once every 9.6 at-bats before the All-Star break. Of course, along with the drop in power he still hit .322/.427/.582 in the second half and .357/.440/.616 in September, which is why he’s the best baseball player on the planet.

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.