Remembering Melvin Mora

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I made a joke on Twitter earlier about how we’d see just how desperate bloggers are for content by the number of “is Melvin Mora a Hall of Famer?”  posts written today.  Hey, he retired. That’s an easy one, right?

I shouldn’t be so damn cynical, because Rob Neyer wrote up a nice Melvin Mora remembrance over at SB Nation that is worth your time. Maybe Mora won’t think it’s nice because the centerpiece of it is play in 2000 when Mora made an error that cost the Mets a game, but it’s full of great stuff. Especially when he reminds us what passed for the heavy hitting portion of the Red Sox’ lineup in 2000. Mercy.

Anyway, Rob’s post is a good reminder that we should probably do whatever we can to get away from absolutes and extremes in baseball analysis. “Is so-and-so a Hall of Famer” or “The ten best whatevers of all time” posts have their place, but we probably do way too much of that.  Rather than rating and ranking everything or trying so hard to find meaningful context to things that happen in baseball, we need to make sure there’s a place for simple stories. To remember the stuff that just sort of happened and didn’t mean a hell of a lot in the grand scheme. Because that’s most of what’s enjoyable about baseball anyway.

Melvin Mora’s career doesn’t fit into the pre-fab “how great was he?” mold. But it was long and varied enough and at times really good, and it serves as a useful means with which to tell a few stories like the one Rob tells today. And that stuff is pretty great.

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.