Bryan Stow’s condition improves

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Based on everything we’ve heard, Bryan Stow likely suffered brain damage in the beating he received at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day. Yet within the overall sense of gloom about his condition, there have been occasions of good news. The latest coming today:

Doctors say the medical condition of a San Francisco Giants fan who was severely beaten outside Dodgers Stadium is continuing to improve, and they’ve upgraded him from critical to serious … Doctors there said Wednesday that Stow is now breathing without a ventilator and has been able to intermittently follow some basic commands. They say he’s also been weaned off two of five anti-seizure medications used to address brain swelling and that they’re lowering the doses of his remaining medications.

When things are as dire as they have been, you take whatever good news you can find.

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.