Jorge De La Rosa to begin throwing program Friday

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Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa underwent Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery back in early June. He’s made good progress thus far and has managed to avoid setbacks, so the Rockies’ medical staff has cleared him to take a major step.

According to Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post, De La Rosa will begin a throwing program on September 23. He’ll be limited to light games of catch initially, but the 30-year-old southpaw should begin throwing bullpen sessions by the middle of winter and could be ready to appear in simulated games by the start of the 2012 regular season.

De La Rosa posted a 3.51 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 52/22 K/BB ratio in 19 starts this season before tearing his ulnar collateral ligament. If he returns in 2012, it won’t happen until the middle of the summer.

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.