Max Ramirez signs with Astros after being let go by Rangers, Red Sox, and Cubs

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Not so long ago Max Ramirez was headed to the Red Sox for Mike Lowell, but Lowell’s injuries squashed that trade and Ramirez’s stock has been in a free fall ever since.

This winter the Red Sox claimed him off waivers from the Rangers only to lose him on waivers to the Cubs a couple weeks later, and the Cubs outright released Ramirez last week. Today the Astros signed him to a minor-league deal.

That’s quite a fall for a catcher who hit .347 with power between Double-A and Triple-A in 2008 and is still just 26 years old, but Ramirez was never considered an asset defensively behind the plate and he’s missed time with injuries while failing to produce offensively since then. Still, not a bad low-cost, no-risk pickup for the Astros.

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.