Clayton Kershaw placed on “submaximal throwing program,” now likely to miss all of April

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Either the Dodgers are playing it extra-carefully with their $215 million ace — which would be completely understandable — or Clayton Kershaw’s back injury is more serious than anyone involved is willing to say. These updates come Tuesday from Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times

That makes it a near-impossibility that Kershaw will be able to return this month to the active roster, and it’s probably even safe to rule him out through the early part of May. Perhaps the Dodgers shouldn’t have allowed the 26-year-old left-hander to throw 102 pitches in his regular-season debut halfway around the world.

This is good news for the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez, who may have just become the favorite for the NL Cy Young Award. Adam Wainwright also now has better odds after last year’s second-place finish.

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.