Nats working to hire Bryce Harper's college coach

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Jon Heyman of SI.com provides an interesting wrinkle on the Bryce Harper-Nationals connection, as the club is working to sign College of Southern Nevada coach Tim Chambers as an “associate scout.”

Nationals assistant general manager Roy Clark insists that the potential hiring is unrelated to Harper, pointing out that he previously employed Chambers when he worked with the Braves organization.

“I promise you, I never heard of Harper when I hired (Chambers) 10 years
ago.”

It’s an interesting note, but I was pretty confident the Nationals were going to select Harper with the No. 1 pick approximately 30 seconds before reading this article.

As you recall, just yesterday a “source” told Heyman that Harper — who is currently being “advised” by Scott Boras — will seek to break the record $15.67 million bonus the Nationals gave to Stephen Strasburg last year.

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.