Nationals prospect Chris Marrero expected to miss entire first half with torn hamstring

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Chris Marrero tore his hamstring while playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic and Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that the Nationals prospect is not expected to return to game action until after the All-Star break.

Marrero would have been behind Adam LaRoche on the first base depth chart anyway, so he may have started the season in the minors even if healthy, but platooning with LaRoche may have been a possibility before the injury and this is a major setback for a 23-year-old whose big-league future was cloudy already.

Marrero was the 15th overall pick in the 2006 draft coming out of high school, but hasn’t developed the power or plate discipline needed to become a top-notch first base prospect. He hit .300 at Triple-A last season, but managed just 14 homers and 58 walks in 127 games for a relatively modest .825 OPS.

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.