Twins place Scott Baker on disabled list, let Kevin Slowey out of doghouse

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Kevin Slowey has been in the Twins’ doghouse all season because he didn’t take well to becoming a reliever when demoted from the rotation during spring training, but after spending several months in the minors he’s back in Minnesota to replace the injured Scott Baker.

As expected, Baker was placed on the disabled list with ongoing elbow problems. Initially the Twins indicated that Anthony Swarzak would get the nod if a rotation replacement was needed, but instead they called up Slowey. His first start will come Sunday against the Indians.

I’ve criticized the Twins’ handling of Slowey, from choosing Nick Blackburn and Brian Duensing over him for rotation spots to tearing him down through the media when he reacted poorly to the prospect of becoming a reliever after four successful seasons as a starter. With that said, it’s good to see them finally giving him another chance. For whatever faults Slowey has and however much blame he deserves for the negative situation, he’s a 27-year-old with a 4.42 ERA as a starter and the Twins can use the help.

Slowey was one of the Twins’ five best starters back in March and he’s one of the Twins’ five best starters now. Of course, if he pitches well in place of Baker the Twins would surely listen to trade offers on Slowey.

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.