Giancarlo Stanton aiming to return from DL early next week

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Giancarlo Stanton is scheduled to begin a brief minor-league rehab assignment today at Single-A and, barring a setback with his surgically repaired knee, hopes to come off the disabled list as soon as Tuesday versus the Mets.

At the time of Stanton’s surgery on July 9 he was expected to miss 4-6 weeks, so he’s basically right on track for the low end of that estimate and Joe Frisaro of MLB.com writes that the Marlins think he’ll be able to return after just a few rehab outings.

Stanton briefly tried to play through the pain before shutting things down and having two loose cartilage chips removed from his right knee. Prior to being placed on the DL he hit .284 with 19 homers and a career-high .919 OPS in 80 games.

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.