The top ten HBT posts of 2011

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Gleeman and I spend a lot of time chatting during the day, and one of the few recurring topics of conversation that doesn’t involve Coen Brothers movies is the correlation between meaningful stories and stories that get a lot of traffic.

While we don’t set out to write about things that will make people click like crazy — we’re not compensated based on that, just so you know — over the past couple of years we’ve gotten pretty good at predicting what will play big and what won’t.

Sex obviously sells. Death, violence and absurd or obnoxious human behavior too.  We’re a baseball blog so we can’t go all TMZ on you, but boy do you all seem to like it when baseball and sensationalism come together. Which is fine. We cover it all, so we’d write about that stuff and the straight baseball stuff anyway.  It’s just interesting to see what plays.

And here’s what played in 2011.  At least in terms of page views.  No judgments here. And RIP Hideki Irabu:

Surprisingly falling short of the top ten: Miguel Caberea’s crazy DUI arrest, the actual deaths — as opposed to near-deaths — of fans in Texas and Colorado and the fact that not a single one of my “Best Shape of His Life” stories made the cut.  Shocking, really.

Well, there’s always next year!

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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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

Kent Horner/Getty Images
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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.