The Red Sox, Dice-K getting along again

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Last year the relationship between the Red Sox and Daisuke Matsuzaka got icy. Over his conditioning, mostly, but the problem may have been exacerbated by cultural stuff and the fact that Dice-K was away for the WBC in the spring.

That’s all better now, reports Pete Abraham. Terry Francona: “We kind of put the gloves down and told him how we felt and he told us.
I think it was really good for everybody. We had probably gotten to the
point where we needed to have pretty direct conversations. And from him
to us, also. I think it was good.”  Theo Epstein: “We’re going to have a full infrastructure in place for all our Japanese
players and a full infrastructure in place for all our pitchers.
Daisuke will work with our training staff and work with our pitching
coach.”

A functioning and effective Matsuzaka will make a big difference for a Red Sox team that had a putative pitching surplus basically disappear over the summer.

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.