Braves ink Diaz to one-year deal

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Matt Diaz.jpgMatt Diaz avoided arbitration by signing a one-year, $2.55 million contract with the Braves, reports MLB.com. He earned $1.2375 million in 2009.



Diaz, who turns 32 in March, batted
.313/.390/.488 in ’09, establishing career-highs with 13 home runs and
58 RBI. Only six National League outfielders with at least 350 plate
appearances were better than his .878 OPS. He crushed left-handed
pitching to the tune of .412/.464/.640 with a 1.103 OPS in 136 at-bats.
It’s a mystery how Garret Anderson managed to get 100 more at-bats than
Diaz.




Though he’s a better weapon against
lefties, and still hasn’t found a stable position on the diamond, Diaz
has at least earned consideration for an every day job next season.




With Diaz resolved, the Braves’ only
remaining arbitration-eligible players are infielder Kelly Johnson,
left-hander Boone Logan and right-hander Peter Moylan.

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.