Red Sox “backing off” free agent closer Francisco Cordero

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Earlier this week the Red Sox were said to be among a handful of teams pursuing free agent Francisco Cordero, but now John Tomase of the Boston Herald reports that they’re “backing off” and “it appears we can cross Cordero off their list of potential closers.”

Tomase suggests that Cordero’s desire for a multi-year deal at age 37 is what soured the Red Sox on him, particularly with his strikeout rate plummeting in 2011.

By trading for Mark Melancon last week the Red Sox have a potential closer option in place, but pursuing Ryan Madson is still possible if his demands continue to drop and they’ve also been linked to A’s closer Andrew Bailey.

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.