Twins leave 13-game winner Kevin Slowey off playoff roster

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Jon Rauch was a question mark for the ALDS because of a late-season knee injury, but he’s healthy enough to be included on the playoff roster and that left the Twins to decide between Kevin Slowey or Scott Baker for the final spot on the pitching staff.
Baker, who was the Opening Day starter and went 12-9 with a 4.49 ERA in 170.2 innings, got the nod over Slowey, who went 13-6 with a 4.45 ERA in 155.2 innings. Neither pitcher would have filled a prominent role–Baker will likely be a long reliever or emergency option for extra innings–because the Twins picked Nick Blackburn as their fourth starter.

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.