Theo Epstein says Cubs aren’t considering trading Starlin Castro

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported earlier this afternoon that the Cubs are open to moving everyone outside of right-hander Jeff Samardzija. Yes, even 22-year-old shortstop Starlin Castro. Naturally there’s been quite a bit of conversation about the report, irrational and otherwise, but Cubs president Theo Epstein went out of his way to address the situation tonight.

According to Doug Padilla and Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago, Epstein confirmed that the Cubs are not considering moving Castro.

“Starlin Castro is the type of player we’re looking to build around,” Epstein said Thursday. “There has been no trade consideration with him, whatsoever.”

Padilla and Levine also go back to a quote from earlier in the week where Epstein said that he doesn’t believe in any player being “untouchable,” but that there are certain core pieces that you “would have to be completely blown away” to move. If that doesn’t describe Castro, I’m not sure what does.

And so, while it’s fun to make up dream trade scenarios, it’s much more likely that Castro is part of the next winning team in Chicago than suiting up for another team later this summer.

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.