“Constant pain” sends Bruce Chen to the disabled list

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Earlier this week Royals left-hander Bruce Chen described himself as being in “constant pain” because of a swollen disk in his back, but planned to pitch through the pain. He won’t get a chance to do that, however, as the Royals have placed him on the disabled list.

Chen posted a 7.45 ERA in four starts this season and isn’t exactly an ace even when he’s healthy, so there was little reason for the Royals to keep trotting him out there every fifth day at obviously less than 100 percent.

Danny Duffy will step into Chen’s rotation spot and it’s entirely possible that by the time the 37-year-old southpaw is ready to return from the DL the Royals will want to stick with the 25-year-old southpaw anyway. Of course, they re-signed Chen to a two-year contract just months ago, so maybe not.

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.