The A-Rod appeal begins with an odd scene

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Today A-Rod’s arbitration appealing his 211-game Biogenesis suspension begins. Saw this tweet from New York a few minutes ago:

Which, I know, right? A-Rod has supporters? Besides me, anyway. I couldn’t make it, though, because apparently the airlines don’t give apologist discounts for last minute fares. Which is totally unfair. I’d be there waving a flag and stuff, though.

But before you lament society’s degenerate nature, it’s not like there are throngs of people there. Just a small fervent base:

Call me cynical — and with the caveat that I haven’t seen any larger photos showing the entire area yet — but I can’t help but think this is less grassroots support than Astroturf. A-Rod’s legal team is not made up of P.R. newbies, and they are probably quite able to rangle up a group of folks to show up around the time A-Rod’s car showed up at hearing headquarters.

If we later learn that there were thousands chanting “Free A-Rod,” however, we can reexamine what we think of society’s degenerate nature.

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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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.