Report: Preliminary forensics test could clear Alfredo Simon in shooting

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Take this news with a grain of salt, but Alfredo Simon’s lawyer told CNN tonight that a “preliminary forensics test” could clear the pitcher in the shooting death of 25-year-old Michael Esteban Castillo.

“The ballistics tests have been favorable,” lawyer Carlos Olivares told CNN in a telephone interview. “We are waiting for the formal report.”

Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com heard similar information from Simon’s agent, who added that the bullet doesn’t match Simon’s gun.

If true, this would absolve Simon in the shooting, which also wounded Castillo’s 17-year-old brother, but Dominican police have expressed skepticism about the report. Sgt. Hermosin de los Santos with the Preventive Police in Puerto Plata told CNN it’s still “very early” and that such cases usually take six months to investigate fully.

Simon is expected to remain in police custody while the Forensic Sciences Institute in Santo Domingo collects and reviews further ballistics evidence.

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.