Clay Buchholz not expecting to return before All-Star break

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Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz acknowledged to MLB.com’s Ian Browne on Wednesday that he is unlikely to return from the disabled list before the All-Star break and may even be out until late July.

Buchholz has been sidelined since June 16 with a lower back strain and felt renewed soreness Tuesday while attempting to throw a bullpen session.

The 26-year-old told reporters that he is not allowing himself to be frustrated by the setback and is looking forward to having health on his side down the stretch.

“I’d rather come back after the All-Star break and be healthy,” said Buchholz. “I want to make sure I’m ready for August and September. “If something happens and I go out and pitch and feel 80 percent, then this happens again and I have to go back on the DL, that’s not what I, or I don’t think the team wants. That’s where we’re at right now.”

Buchholz has registered a quality 3.48 ERA and 1.29 WHIP across 14 starts this season, with 60 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings. He signed a four-year, $29.945 million contract extension with Boston in early April.

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.