Bruce Chen expected to be placed on disabled list

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Bruce Chen was scratched from his start earlier this week due to a swollen disk in his back and now Royals manager Ned Yost tells Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star that he expects the veteran left-hander to be placed on the disabled list.

Chen said earlier this week that the injury was giving him “constant pain” and received an epidural injection to ease the swelling. He had a bullpen session this afternoon, but apparently isn’t feeling much improvement.

With Chen sidelined, Danny Duffy is expected to start in his place Saturday against the Tigers. Duffy has been pitching out of the bullpen since coming up from the minors last month, so he’ll likely only throw 65-70 pitches his first time out.

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.