Chicago Sun-Times eager to be Marlon Byrd’s judge, jury, executioner

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OK, I’m dubious about Marlon Byrd’s claims that his positive test for a breast-cancer-treating, estrogen-blocking, steroid-masking drug had nothing to do with enhancing his performance. A couple of bigwigs at the Chicago Sun-Times are anything but, however. They’re positive Byrd is lying through his teeth:

Now, I’m sure De Luca, Deputy Managing Editor, News and Sports, and Morrissey, columnist, have done exhaustive research on the topic. That topic being how to kick people when they’re down. Byrd might be a career cheater, for all I know. Or he might well be as clean as anyone in the sport. One thing I’m pretty sure about: if he recently started cheating, he’s pretty terrible at it.

Oh, and there’s one more relevant fact: the drug found in Byrd’s system isn’t performance enhancing. But don’t let that stop the snark-fest guys.

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.