Frank Francisco’s return from oblique injury delayed by knee problems

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Frank Francisco was supposed to begin a minor-league rehab assignment today for his oblique injury, but those plans have been pushed back because the Mets closer is having knee problems.

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that Francisco threw a 40-pitch bullpen session Sunday at Citi Field, but woke up yesterday with “right knee discomfort.” He got an anti-inflammatory injection and will presumably try again later this week.

Francisco has been out since June 23 and fill-in closer Bobby Parnell has blown two of his four save chances during that time, but also has a 2.53 ERA and 9/0 K/BB ratio in 11 innings.

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.