Roy Oswalt is a start away from joining the Rockies rotation

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Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post reports that, if the Rockies stick to their plan for Roy Oswalt, he’ll make one more minor league start this Friday and then he’ll be back in the bigs. Oswalt has a 2.88 ERA and 18/6 K/BB ratio in 25 innings in four Texas League starts and his velocity is reported to be a healthy low 90s with occasional flashes in the mid-90s.

Will he be the difference between the Rockies contending and not contending? For a while I suppose, as the Rockies are only two games out.  But I don’t feel like Colorado has staying power regardless, which means that at the very least Oswalt could be interesting trade bait if he pitches well and things don’t continue to chug along for the team.

Oswalt appeared in only 17 games and was pretty ineffective for the Rangers in 2012. But if the rest has done him good and those velocity readings are accurate, he will be worth watching.

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.