Orioles 'close' to getting Millwood from Rangers

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Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles are “very close” to acquiring Kevin Millwood from the Rangers in exchange for Chris Ray. This morning the newspaper noted that Baltimore would assume the bulk of Millwood’s remaining contract, which pays him $12 million in 2010, so that’s presumably why Texas is willing to part with him for a relatively minimal return.
Ray was once a very promising young reliever and took over closing duties in Baltimore as a 24-year-old in 2006, but missed all of 2008 following Tommy John elbow surgery and struggled in his return, posting a 7.27 ERA in 43.1 innings. He’s arbitration eligible for the first time and was thought to be a non-tender candidate, so while not without value to the Rangers acquiring Ray seems secondary to shedding Millwood’s salary.
Millwood has gone 48-46 with a 4.57 ERA for the Rangers since signing a five-year, $60 million deal as a free agent in December of 2005, including 13-10 with a 3.67 ERA over 31 starts in 2009. His poor 123/71 K/BB ratio suggests a regression is likely for 2010, but he figures to be good for 180 innings of league-average pitching and Baltimore can certainly use the rotation help.

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.