Be careful where you step, scofflaws

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piniella_090818.jpgFirst it was the war on drugs. Then the war on terror. Now? Jaywalking, of course.

Lou Piniella was the latest to get nabbed, getting off with only a warning after being caught committing the unthinkable in downtown San Diego on Tuesday.

Sweet Lou was talking on his cell phone (presumably calling Closers-R-Us), and looking for a place to get his hair cut when he crossed against a red light, attracting the attention of an eagle-eyed motorcycle cop.

Piniella says he didn’t get any special treatment in avoiding a ticket, claiming that the officer didn’t recognize him. This seems unlikely, given his burgeoning rap career, but I digress.

Piniella is only the latest to run afoul of the law. Just last week, White Sox GM Kenny Williams was busted in Seattle, receiving a $56 ticket for his transgressions.

Last summer in the same city, then-Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez was chewed out by a cop for jaywalking, to the point where he was threatened with arrest.

(The best part of that incident is that the officer, not recognizing Ramirez, asked him if he had attended the game. Attended? Well, I guess that all depends on your definition of the word.)

It’s about time baseball people stopped acting as if they are above the law. This isn’t Italy, where the police will applaud and offer you a glass of wine if you manage to cross the street without being run over by a Vespa. Nor is it India, where … well, just watch this video and be amazed.

No, this is America, and we’re just not going to take it anymore. Anyone have George Mitchell’s number? Wonder what he’s up to.

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If you Twitter, and are a law-abiding citizen, 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.