Link-O-Rama: Geer giving up gopher balls

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* Some tidbits about Josh Geer’s homer-allowing binge:
He’s allowed at least one homer in 16 of 17 starts. He’s served up 27
homers in 102.2 innings, which works out to a rate of 2.4 homers per
nine innings that ranks as the fourth-highest in baseball history among pitchers with at least 100 innings.

For comparison, Mariano Rivera has allowed a grand total of 58 homers
in 1,066.1 career innings. Wait, there’s more. Take him away from
power-suppressing Petco Park and Geer has allowed an astounding 16
homers in 43 innings. He’s been invited to serve as “all-time pitcher”
for next year’s Home Run Debry. OK, I made that last one up.

* Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com reports
that Fausto Carmona will make at least one more start at Triple-A
before rejoining the Indians. Demoted all the way to rookie-ball on
June 5, Carmona has worked his way back up to Triple-A by posting a
2.72 ERA and 39/7 K/BB ratio in seven minor-league starts between three
levels.

* Pitching coach Rick Knapp gave the Tigers a scare
Sunday night when he passed out and briefly lost consciousness on the
team plane. An emergency landing and trip to the hospital followed, but
Knapp was released after a brief stay and was back at work yesterday.

* As a follow-up to my entry yesterday about Luke Hochevar’s back-to-back impressive starts putting him in some exclusive company, Clark Fosler of Royals Authority examines why Hochevar is suddenly pitching so well. The short answer? More sliders.

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.

Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.

Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.

Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.

Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.