Rick Porcello hurls eight innings of one-hit ball after demotion to Triple-A

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Max Scherzer came back from his brief demotion to Triple-A pitching like a new man and fortunately for the Tigers it looks like Rick Porcello is following in his footsteps.
Optioned to Triple-A over the weekend after following up his strong rookie season by going 4-7 with a 6.14 ERA in 13 starts this year, Porcello tossed eight innings of one-hit ball last night against the Reds’ affiliate.
He was facing a lineup that included quality prospects Yonder Alonso, Todd Frazier, and Juan Francisco along with former big leaguers Chris Burke, Wladimir Balentien, and Ryan Hanigan, so the outing is fairly impressive. He managed just three strikeouts, but handed out only one walk and induced 15 ground-ball outs.
Here’s what he said afterward:

I think it’s good for me to come down here and work on a couple of things and get some confidence. I had a pretty good sinker tonight and a good slider. It was a pretty effective mix of pitches. I’m just trying to work on my slider and try to shorten it up a bit and throw it consistently for strikes down in the zone. I felt comfortable with it tonight. That’s pretty much what they wanted me to come down here and work on. That and to keep my sinker down in the zone.

Scherzer’s demotion lasted all of two starts and he has a 3.48 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 31 innings since returning, so Porcello may not be long for Toledo.

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.