Moylan better than ever after Tommy John surgery

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Last night Peter Moylan set a Braves record by appearing in his 85th game, which is pretty remarkable for a guy who missed nearly all of last season following Tommy John elbow surgery and was no sure thing to be healthy by Opening Day.
In fact, even after making the team out of spring training Moylan struggled in his first two outings, allowing five runs without recording an out. Atlanta stuck with him and since then he’s 6-2 with a 2.03 ERA in 71 innings while limiting opponents to a .235 batting average.
Moylan’s average fastball is down about two miles per hour compared to his pre-surgery norms, but his slider remains just as sharp and the side-arming right-hander continues to induce a ton of ground balls. He has the third-highest ground-ball rate among all pitchers with 50 or more innings at 62.8 percent and has yet to allow a homer in 300 plate appearances. Toss in 60 strikeouts in 71 innings and he’s basically a perfect setup man.
Moylan was ridden extremely hard in 2007, logging 90 innings in 80 appearances, and that workload likely led to his needing to go under the knife. This season’s workload isn’t quite as heavy, but pitching 85 times in 156 games has still put an awful lot of stress on his surgically repaired elbow. On the other hand he’s already 30 years old despite this being just his second full season in the majors, so riding Moylan until the wheels fall off makes some sense.

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.