This news has flown under the radar somewhat this weekend, but the Dodgers announced on Saturday that a split squad team will travel to Taiwan to play two exhibition games against a team from the Chinese Professional Baseball League on March 13 and 14.
“We’re very excited to return to Taiwan and continue to strengthen the relationships that date back to
the 1980s,” said Dodger Owner Frank McCourt. “The Dodgers believe wholeheartedly in the development of
the game of baseball internationally and we have many fans in Taiwan who we look forward to seeing in
Read the full statement here.
Of course, the Dodgers already have some well-established roots in Taiwan. They became the first major league team to play in Taiwan when they competed against a team of Chinese Professional Baseball League
All-Stars in 1993. They later became the first major league team to sign a Taiwanese
high school player when they agreed to terms with left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo in 2000.
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.
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.