Yadier Molina to begin rehab assignment Wednesday

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Yadier Molina took a round of batting practice on Tuesday night at Double-A Springfield and has been cleared to catch five or six innings there Wednesday in his first minor league rehab game. This according to Kary Booher of the Springfield News-Leader.

“My thumb feels great,” Molina told Booher after his on-field workout, which included catching a bullpen session and then signing autographs for the fans in Springfield. “I’m in really good shape. I’m happy with the way everything is going. I can’t wait for tomorrow. I’m going to be nervous. … It’s been a long time. It’s been the longest two months ever. But I’m so excited to come back on the field.”

Molina tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right (throwing) thumb on July 9.

He could be back behind the plate for St. Louis at some point this weekend.

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.