John Mabry likely to replace Mark McGwire as hitting coach with Cardinals

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With Mark McGwire set to accept the hitting coach job with the Dodgers, the Cardinals are expected to look in-house for a replacement.

While the Cardinals offered no comment on coaching matters yesterday, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes that the club may name John Mabry as their new hitting coach as soon as Monday. The club is expected to announce Triple-A Memphis pitching coach Blaise Ilsley as their new bullpen coach on the same day.

This would be a natural transition for Mabry, who joined Mike Matheny’s staff as assistant hitting coach last offseason after Mike Aldrete was promoted to bench coach. Another former Cardinal, he played eight seasons of his 14-year major league career with the club.

With McGwire on the way out and Mabry poised to be promoted, Cardinals intend to settle on their next assistant hitting coach from within the organization. It’s difficult to quantify the impact of two hitting coaches, but plenty of teams have jumped on board with the idea since Tony La Russa started the trend in 2008.

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.