ESPN to televise 10 spring training games

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ESPN just announced that they will televise 10 spring training games. The schedule breaks down as follows:

March 3:  Detroit vs. Atlanta – 1 p.m. ET
March 14:  N.Y. Yankees vs. Boston – 7 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
March 16: Boston vs. Atlanta – 1 p.m. ET
March 21:  Boston vs. Philadelphia – 1 p.m. ET
March 22:  N.Y. Yankees vs. Baltimore – 1 p.m. ET
March 23:  N.Y. Mets vs. St. Louis – 1 p.m. ET
March 24:  Chicago White Sox vs. Cubs – 5 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
March 25:  Atlanta vs. Philadelphia – 1 p.m. ET
March 26:  Chicago Cubs vs. Texas – 4 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
March 29: Detroit at N.Y. Yankees – 1 p.m. ET

Yes, the World Champion Giants are mysteriously absent here, although they do kick off the Sunday Night Baseball schedule on April 3, if that means anything. The bigger issue for me is that only two Cactus League games will be televised. That’s a bummer. While we’re all crazy-go-nuts baseball fans here, remember that ESPN is trying to appeal to as many viewers as possible with a bunch of games that really have no impact on anything, hence three appearances each by the Red Sox and Yankees. So while that’s not fair to the rest of the country, it’s the reality of the situation. Hey, at least ESPN is trying to make Craig happy.

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.