Witnesses will say that Alfredo Simon did not fire the fatal shot

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Personally I’d like to never think about shootings again. But as long as the information is out there I suppose we need to pass it along:

The agent for Orioles reliever Alfredo Simon said there are several witnesses in the Dominican Republic who are willing to come forward and testify that the pitcher could not have fired the fatal bullet that killed Simon’s 25-year-old cousin in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day.

Phil Isaac, one of Simon’s two American agents, spent the weekend in the Dominican talking to attorneys and others involved with the case and said he believes Simon was “quite a distance” away from the spot where his cousin, Michael Esteban Castillo Almonte, was killed.

“There are a few witnesses that will come forward that we have spoken to and that the attorneys have spoken to that will testify – if it comes to that – that under no circumstances whatsoever could Alfredo have fired the fatal shot,” said Isaac, who along with his brother, Alex, represents Simon.

As I always like to mention: it’s nearly impossible to know what’s going on from way up here. We’re just not that familiar with the legal system in the Dominican Republic. And given what we’ve seen, there are way too many people who are prepared to talk about this case in terms that are fundamentally different than those who talked about it five minutes ago.

But, like I said, we’ll continue to pass along new developments as they’re reported.

(thanks to reader Random Digits for the heads up)

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.