Yankees add veteran catcher Rivera to compete for backup job

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Francisco Cervelli is seemingly the favorite to replace free agent Jose Molina as Jorge Posada’s backup, but the Yankees have brought in some veteran competition in the form of Mike Rivera.
Rivera spent last season backing up Jason Kendall in Milwaukee, drawing a grand total of just 31 starts while hitting .228/.326/.346. He’s shown more pop than that in the past, hitting .276/.338/.465 with nine homers and 14 doubles in 242 plate appearances from 2006-2008, and also averaged 26 homers per 500 at-bats in various stints at Triple-A.
He’s also 33 years old and not especially strong defensively, which is why Rivera could manage only a minor-league deal and Cervelli remains the favorite to be Posada’s caddy in 2010. Cervelli held his own in 101 plate appearances with the Yankees last season, hitting .298/.309/.372 as a 23-year-old rookie, and projects as a solid on-base threat after hitting .273/.367/.380 in the minors.

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.