Manny Ramirez will be back soon. Gentlemen: start your narratives

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Remember the first time Manny Ramirez got a drug suspension and then got all kinds of crap because he was allowed to go on a triple-A rehab assignment before the 50 games was up?  Yeah, it seems like a long time ago that people cared that much about what Manny did.

He’s doing it again. Starting Sunday, when he’ll report to Sacramento to serve out the last few days of his latest suspension and then join the Oakland A’s.  And, as he told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, he’s excited about it:

“I will be ready.  I’m going to go crazy to please the fans.”

“I will do anything — absolutely anything I need to do — in order to hit home runs and make the fans happy,” he did not add, because presumably he has at least a modicum of self-awareness.

Seriously, this is an interesting time for Manny and the A’s.  At 19-17, Oakland is exceeding expectations and is actually to stir a little something in a fan base thought dead.  If Manny comes back and keeps the A’s humming at a respectable level — or even spurs them into sustained contention — the Manny narrative becomes something totally different than it has been for him for the past couple of years.

If, however, his return coincides with Oakland going on a skid — whether he produces or not — will he get the blame for it? Will he be characterized as poison?

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.