Rays sign Cuban defector Anderson for $3.75 million

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The Rays confirmed a report Thursday that they’ve agreed to terms with Cuban first baseman-outfielder Leslie Anderson.
Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald reported earlier in the day that it was a major league deal worth a guaranteed $3.75 million over four years.
Anderson, 27, is a left-handed hitter with experience throughout the outfield and at first base. It’s believed major league teams were looking at him primarily as a first baseman.
The Cubano’s Blog has him as a career .326 hitter with 92 homers and a 376/417 K/BB ratio in 3,127 at-bats in Cuba.
The Rays are probably looking more towards 2011 than 2010 with the signing. Perhaps Anderson could come up and contribute this year if Hank Blalock proves to be a bust, but the Rays are facing possible holes at first base and in left field next year with Carlos Pena and Carl Crawford both becoming eligible for free agency. If Anderson impresses, he could take over at one of those spots.

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.