Deadline passes, but Rangers close to being sold

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Their exclusive 30-day negotiation window has closed without a deal,
but an investment group led by Pittsburgh sports attorney Chuck
Greenberg and Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan said “extraordinary
progress” had been made in talks to buy the Rangers from Hicks Sports Group.

“We are on the verge of an agreement
that would provide Tom Hicks the value he seeks and the Texas Rangers
the resources to become champions,” the statement from Greenberg and
Ryan said.

It’s unclear whether the negotiation window will be extended, or
whether Hicks will consider bids from other finalists. If the sale with
Greenberg is completed, Hicks would still provide the second-largest
investment in the team, however he would make no baseball decisions.
Ryan would resume his role as team president, a role he has had for the
past two seasons.

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.