George Steinbrenner and college football

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Bill Madden has a great piece up over at the Daily News today. Inspired by the bowl game that will be played in Yankee Stadium on Thursday, Madden reminds us of George Steinbrenner’s many ties — and undeniable love — for college football.  It’s a good history lesson.

Also, if you’re at all familiar with the fanatical and nutsy rah-rah world of big time college football — as those of us who live in places like Columbus, Ohio are — it goes a long ways toward explaining  Steinbrenner’s behavior as a baseball owner.  Really, is there anything he did while he ran the Yankees that was all that different than what any of your more unhinged athletic directors or boosters do at Big Football State University?

Finally, it’s a great excuse to use this pic of 1970s George Steinbrenner. So there’s that.

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.