Shelby Miller shines in Triple-A start after given week off

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Cardinals prospect Shelby Miller allowed 17 runs in 13 2/3 innings over his first three starts this month at Triple-A Memphis, continuing a run of disappointing results that dates back to mid-May. So St. Louis’ higher-ups decided to skip his next turn in the rotation and instituted a “no-shake rule” to keep him from relying too heavily on his mid-90s fastball.

That strategy seems to have worked wonders.

Miller allowed just one hit — a solo homer — in a five-inning outing Wednesday night at Memphis, striking out eight batters and walking three. The Texas native still has an ugly 5.70 ERA on the year and clearly won’t be ready for the majors as early as the Cards were hoping. But his strikeout rate (10.3 K/9) is still good and he’s certainly capable of getting on a roll.

Miller was the 19th overall pick in the 2009 Amateur Draft. He doesn’t turn 22 years old until October 10.

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.