Laynce Nix declares free agency

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Laynce Nix declared himself a free agent today after clearing waivers and refusing an outright assignment, according to the Reds’ official Twitter feed.

Nix, who turned 30 last month, batted .291/.350/.455 with four home runs, 18 RBI and an 805 OPS over 165 at-bats this past season. He sprained his left ankle on August 23 and missed most of the month of September, but was on the club’s roster for the Division Series against the Phillies.

Nix went through virtually the same process last November. After hitting a career-high 15 home runs in 309 at-bats in 2009, Nix refused an outright assignment from the Reds only to return on a minor league contract.

It’s possible he could be back, but there will probably be a few teams interested in him as a cheap alternative for a left-handed bat off the bench. Nix posted a 795 OPS in 163 plate appearances against right-handed pitching this season and an 802 OPS in 303 plate appearances against righties in 2009.

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.