Rafael Furcal will have Tommy John surgery next week, plans winter ball return

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Rafael Furcal has scheduled his Tommy John elbow surgery for Wednesday and told Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that his next game action will probably come in the Dominican winter league next offseason.

He’s been given a 6-8 month recovery timetable and the door can probably be closed on whatever slim chance there might have been on Furcal making a late-season appearance for the Cardinals.

Next offseason he’ll hit the open market as a 36-year-old coming off major elbow surgery, which is obviously bad news for a shortstop known for his arm strength. And sure enough Furcal told Hummel that he might start out playing second base in the winter league once he does return, both to bring his elbow along slowly and increase his versatility for a potential 2014 gig.

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.