Pirates activate A.J. Burnett from the disabled list

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As planned, the Pirates have activated right-handed starter A.J. Burnett from the 15-day disabled list.

He will start for the Pirates on Sunday afternoon against the Cubs after sitting out for the past three-plus weeks because of a strained right calf muscle.

Burnett has registered a fantastic 3.12 ERA and 1.13 ERA in 14 starts this season, fanning 99 batters and issuing only 35 walks in 89 1/3 innings. The 36-year-old Arkansas native owns an impressive 3.39 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 8.6 K/9 in 291 2/3 total frames since joining Pittsburgh via a trade from the Yankees before the start of the 2012 campaign.

The Pirates enter play Sunday with one-game lead over the Cardinals in the National League Central.

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.