Diamondbacks trade Conor Jackson to A's

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Reports yesterday had the Rangers pursuing Conor Jackson but this afternoon the Diamondbacks traded him to a different AL West team, sending Jackson to the A’s for right-handed reliever prospect Sam Demel.
Jackson missed most of last season with valley fever and has struggled to bounce back this year, hitting just .238 with one homer and a .657 OPS in 42 games. He was a solid hitter from 2006-2008, posting an OPS above .800 each year, but while still just 28 years old Jackson is making $3.1 million and could be a non-tender candidate this winter if he doesn’t get on track in the second half.
Demel was the A’s third-round pick in 2007 and has good stuff, with an average fastball around 92-94 miles per hour and 200 strikeouts in 180.2 innings as a minor leaguer. His control is iffy, but Demel has a 2.61 ERA and 61/30 K/BB ratio in 61 innings at Triple-A and projects as a potential late-inning reliever. Still, that he’s the guy going to Arizona in a 1-for-1 deal shows just how far Jackson’s stock has declined.
While cutting bait on Jackson doesn’t necessarily have any impact on the Diamondbacks’ plans, he might be the first player out the door in a more extensive rebuilding effort that could include Adam LaRoche, Chris Snyder, Kelly Johnson, Aaron Heilman, and perhaps even Dan Haren.

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.