Cardinals’ GM thinks the defense will be better

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Cardinals’ GM John Mozeliak thinks that team defense will be better in 2011:

“I’m of the belief that the defense question is being overstated. Overall, the idea that we’ve lessened our club that much defensively I guess I understand from the comment that we traded Brendan. But I don’t see the big change. I think this is going to be a good defensive club, if not better.”

OK. In addition to getting read of Brendan Ryan, who was probably the best shortstop in baseball last season, Mozeliak has given eight million bucks to Lance Berkman to be his starting right fielder. The same Lance Berkman who hasn’t played much if any outfield for four or five years and wasn’t particularly good at it back when he did.

Hey, I have no problem with a team deciding that it needs to sacrifice some defense in order to upgrade the bats, but man, just don’t go pretending that your team D is going to improve when you do it.

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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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.