And we now begin eight and a half months of freaking out about Sabathia’s opt-out clause

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More weighty news relating to CC Sabathia than his choice of breakfast cereals involves his contract. As in, the fact that he has the ability to opt-out of it after this year if he wants, and that has caused no shortage of consternation among Yankees fans. Yankees fans who, as of this past winter, are now acutely aware that, no, they can’t just sign every damn player they want.

So, as Sabathia hit Tampa today, and after the fun stuff about his weight was discussed, he was asked about his opt-out clause.  His comments: a statement that he has no intention of leaving the Yankees but that “anything is possible in a contract.”  He then added that he won’t be discussing it anymore because, you know, there’s work to be done.

I have no idea how else one could handle that. It would be the height of folly for Sabathia to verbally commit to any course of action right now. To do so risks him being characterized as a villain or a liar or a mercenary or whatever if he ends up leaving. Or it foolishly cuts off his negotiating leverage if he indeed plans to stay. Or — and I realize this is totally insane — he might not have any idea what’s going to happen this year and has no idea what he’s going to do about his opt-out. In light of that, it makes absolute perfect sense for Sabathia to be positive about staying in New York but ultimately non-committal.

But I have this feeling that — if Sabathia holds true to the smart course and declines to discuss this matter any further until next fall — the “anything is possible” quote will be cited umpteen times in the next several months as Meaning Something Terribly Important. And with it will be accompanied by the expected freaking out by the expected freak-outers.

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.