Bob Brenly expects to re-sign as Cubs announcer despite Diamondbacks speculation

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Mark Grace taking an indefinite leave of absence as Arizona’s television analyst following a DUI arrest has led to some speculation that former Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly could take the job when his contract with the Cubs expires at the end of this season.

Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune asked about that possibility and Brenly pretty clearly shot it down, calling it “rain delay filler” and adding that “I have every confidence that we’ll get something done” to remain with the Cubs.

Brenly and play-by-play man Len Kasper are among the best television duos in baseball and announcing Cubs games is certainly a much higher-profile (and presumably higher-paid) gig than doing the same for the Diamondbacks. Brenly has been the Cubs’ analyst since replacing Steve Stone in 2005 and is currently finishing up a four-year contract.

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.