NBC SportsTalk: One-on-one with Adam LaRoche

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The Nationals dropped the series opener against the Yankees last night in D.C., but they remain one of the most interesting stories in baseball this season.

Adam LaRoche has played a big part in the Nationals’ early success, hitting .261 with 11 homers, 42 RBI and an .848 OPS through 56 games after being limited to just 43 games last year due to shoulder surgery.

The veteran first baseman made an appearance on NBC Sports Talk last night, where he talked about what he sees in 19-year-old rookie Bryce Harper, the possibility of playing in the postseason and whether the Nationals should shut down Stephen Strasburg if they are making a run. It’s not too hard to guess what he thinks about that last one.

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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.