Ryan Howard needs knee surgery, out 6-8 weeks

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Ryan Howard underwent an MRI exam after being placed on the disabled list with a left knee injury and the Phillies first baseman has been diagnosed with a torn meniscus.

He’s expected to miss 6-8 weeks, which would knock Howard out until at least late August and possibly the remainder of the season if any setbacks occur.

Last season Howard struggled after returning from a torn Achilles’ tendon and he got off to a slow start this season as well, but since June 1 he’d hit .287 with four homers and an .885 OPS in 30 games. Overall since coming back from the torn Achilles’ tendon that occurred during the 2011 playoffs Howard has hit just .244 with a .752 OPS in 151 games, which is a 150-point dropoff from his career OPS.

Howard, who’ll be 34 years old in November, is making $20 million this season and the Phillies owe him $25 million per season for 2014, 2015, and 2016, plus a $23 million team option or $10 million buyout for 2017.

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.