They’re not putting the cross on the mound at Busch Stadium anymore

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A couple of weeks ago we learned that there was a fuss of sorts — something of a minor ruckus — involving Cardinals pitchers and grounds crew members putting a cross on the mound at Busch Stadium. People were offended, see, because, I dunno, it turned them into Christians against their will or something.

Now, as a result of the outrage, the Cardinals have removed the cross and asked players and grounds crew not to put it there anymore.

I’m a big annoying agnostic who is among the first to get irked when religion and government start to become intertwined, but I fail to see how this could have truly bothered anyone. It was a step up from a guy wearing a crucifix or looking to the heavens after doing something good on the playing field. No one was asking anyone else to adopt any beliefs. No one else’s beliefs or freedoms were impinged. Someone just got annoyed at someone else’s thing and decided to be a pain about it.

Hope it made them feel better.

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.