Rafael Palmeiro: 3000 hits was “a nightmare”

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We hear from Rafael Palmeiro, and others in his particular place in baseball history, once or twice a year. Usually around Hall of Fame vote time in the winter and then around the time of the inductions in the summer.  They’re asked how he feels to be on the outside looking in because of their association with performance enhancing drugs, whether that association is dubious or otherwise.

They give a range of quotes, usually centering on the idea that the Hall of Fame is out of their hands and that they’re just living life.  As more players whose prime occurred in the 1990s join their ranks we’re likely to hear different variations on those themes, but the general template will be the same.

Which makes Kevin Cowherd’s story about Rafael Palmeiro in the Baltimore Sun interesting to me. A little more time to spread out and get Palmeiro taking. Saying stuff like this:

“You know that 3,000th hit, going through that was a nightmare,” Palmeiro said now, signing baseballs in a side room at the Hilton. “‘Cause I was going through the issues I was having with the commissioner’s office (with his failed steroid test). I don’t look back on 3,000 hits as a celebration. I look back on that as a nightmare.”

He still maintains that he didn’t knowingly take steroids and that, rather, it was a tainted B-12 shot.  Not that it matters much. Given that Jeff Bagwell is being blackballed from the Hall of Fame with no evidence of PED use against him whatsoever, Palmeiro’s failed test will always keep him out whether he was aware of what he was taking or not.

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.