Mariano Rivera on Joe West: "He should do his job"

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Mariano Rivera has been a major league pitcher since 1995. In those 15 years, I can recall exactly zero instances of him being critical of someone in the press. The man does his job, takes a shower, goes home and does it again the next day and doesn’t let the petty affairs of the mere mortals around him disturb him in any way whatsoever. So when he spoke with the New York Post about Joe West’s intemperate bleatings yesterday, it was definitely notable:

“It’s incredible. If he has places to go, let
him do something else. What does he want us to do, swing at balls? He has a job to do. He should do his job. We don’t want
to play four-hour games but that’s what it takes. We respect and love
the fans and do what we have to do and that’s play our game.”

Joe West might have a point about game length, but (a) it’s his job to try and do something about it; (b) he could start by calling strikes strikes instead of squeezing everyone like he does; and (c) regardless of any of that, he was way, way out of line in going public with his complaints about the Yankees and the Red Sox. If he’s got a problem with them he should take it to the Commissioner’s Office, and in no event should he — a freakin’ umpire crew chief — be ripping teams in the press.

I hope West is disciplined for his wrong-place, wrong-time comments yesterday, and I hope that Major League Baseball makes that discipline public, just as it would do for any player or manager who went after the umpires. Integrity is a two-way street, and if it’s improper for players to questions an umpire’s integrity, it’s improper for an umpire to do the same of the players over whom he has considerable power.

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.