Mariners could soon give Dustin Ackley a shot

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With Jack Wilson hitting .250/.282/.288 on the season, it’s almost time.

Dustin Ackley, the second overall pick in the 2009 draft and the Mariners’ No. 1 prospect, has rebounded from a poor April to hit .359/.475/.594 with three homers 13 RBI and a 7/15 K/BB ratio in 64 at-bats this month for Triple-A Tacoma.

The Mariners actually have gotten decent production from second base overall, but that’s mostly Adam Kennedy and he can play first and third as well.   The Mariners have been holding out hope that Wilson would play well enough to bring back a prospect before the deadline, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.  By the time June 1 rules around, releasing him and moving on to Ackley is going to be the obvious move, particularly since waiting that long should guarantee that Ackley won’t be a super-two arbitration eligible after 2013.

Ackley isn’t likely to be a star right away.  It took him time to adjust to Triple-A, and the jump to the majors will be even more difficult.  Plus, there are still questions about whether the former first baseman and center fielder will last at second defensively.

The 23-year-old Ackley is ready for his first opportunity, though.  He possesses 15-homer power, and with his on-base skills, he could be the solution in the two hole the Mariners thought they were getting when they signed Chone Figgins.  The Seattle lineup is badly in need of a boost, and while Franklin Gutierrez’s return should help some, Ackley is their best hope of providing it.

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.