Clayton Kershaw on track to begin a rehab assignment Friday

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2013 National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw threw 51 pitches in a bullpen session yesterday at Dodger Stadium as he continues to make his way back from a strain of the teres major muscle in his upper back. And he’s nearly ready to make his return to game action.

According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Kershaw is scheduled to throw another bullpen session tomorrow. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said that while nothing is set in stone, the southpaw is currently on track to begin a minor league rehab assignment on Friday.

Pitchers are permitted to stay on a rehab minor league rehab stint for a maximum of 30 days, but Kershaw might only need a couple of tuneup starts before rejoining the Dodgers.

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.