Padilla brings swine flu, high ERA to L.A.

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padilla_090819.jpgIn a move that is destined to turn Chavez Ravine into a giant yawn contest, the Dodgers have signed former Rangers pitcher Vicente Padilla to a minor league contract. Talk about a low-risk, low-reward move.

Padilla will pitch at Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday before joining the big league team, and is expected to start against the Colorado Rockies on Aug. 27.

The good news on this signing is the Dodgers won’t have to pay Padilla much more than their ball boys, as the Rangers will eat the $8 million he’s owed after dumping him a couple days ago. The bad news is that he isn’t much better than the ball boys, even when you take into account his recent bout with swine flu.

(Speaking of swine flu, apparently the virus has hit a Japanese baseball team pretty hard. The team’s name? The Nippon Ham Fighters. Not kidding.)

Padilla turns 32 in late September, and at this point in his career, what you see is what you get. He’s going to walk some guys. He’s going to hit some guys (eighth all-time among active pitchers). And he’s going to give up some home runs (although, only 12 so far this season).His line this season (8-6, 4.92), is about on target with his career line (94-85, 4.36).

Is Padilla really any better than Charlie Haeger, Eric Stults or James McDonald? Seems doubtful, but with Hiroki Kuroda heading to the disabled list, I guess it doesn’t hurt to stock up on warm bodies.

Throw enough junk at the wall, something might stick.

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If you Twitter, and have been diagnosed as swine-flu free, you can follow me at @Bharks.

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.