Astros owner Jim Crane met with Lance Berkman

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We learned a couple of weeks ago that the Astros were going to reach out to Lance Berkman to investigate his interest as joining them as their DH.  Now they have reached out, reports Mark Berman of MyFoxHouston.com:

Houston Astros owner Jim Crane told FOX 26 Sports he met last week with free agent first baseman Lance Berkman.

“We had a chat in my office,” Crane said. “He was just seeing where we were at. He expressed some interest in maybe working a deal out.  “We haven’t gotten to that (discuss contract). I think his knee is still up in the air. So we got to get that all worked out. It was a get-acquainted meeting, really.”

With the new logo and stuff there is a definite “get the band back together” vibe coming from Houston.  And moving to the AL, the Astros do need someone who can DH.  Whether Berkman — a man who just recently said that the AL was a “Mickey Mouse league” because of the DH — is that guy remains to be seen.

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.