Josh Johnson quietly moves past Ubaldo Jimenez as the first half's top pitcher

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Ubaldo Jimenez dominated the early season headlines, and rightfully so, but three straight poor starts have bumped his ERA from 1.15 to 2.27 and now Josh Johnson is the only starter in baseball with a sub-2.00 mark.
Johnson still can’t compete with Jimenez’s attention-grabbing win total, but after shutting out the Dodgers for eight innings yesterday he’s now 9-3 with a 1.70 ERA, .203 opponents’ batting average, and 123/28 K/BB ratio in 122 innings.
He’s reeled off 16 straight Quality Starts and has allowed just seven earned runs in his last 79 innings for a 0.80 ERA. And last night Johnson improved to 33-0 in his career when the Marlins’ lineup provides him with at least four runs of support.
My guess is that Jimenez will get the starting nod for the National League in the All-Star game because of his MLB-leading 14 wins and incredible amount of early attention, but Johnson has been the best pitcher in baseball this season and may be the most underrated ace in the game. Since returning from Tommy John elbow surgery in mid-2008 he’s 31-9 with a 2.86 ERA in 418.1 innings.

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.