Reds phenom Chapman exits early (back stiffness)

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Update: The Reds announced that Chapman departed with lower back stiffness, a problem that had plagued him all week. Chapman was set to be examined after the game. The feeling is that this could knock him out of the competition for a rotation spot.

Aroldis Chapman left his appearance in his second inning of work Monday accompanied by the Reds’ trainer after laboring the Rockies.
Chapman, pitching in relief of Bronson Arroyo, had an easy sixth inning versus Colorado before struggling during a 30-pitch seventh inning. Throwing mostly offspeed pitches, he walked two and gave up four runs, all of which were unearned. His departure immediately followed a three-run double.
Given that the Reds wouldn’t have wanted to extend him too far in a single inning of work, Chapman might have been done then anyway. Still, it wasn’t a good sign that manager Dusty Baker, pitching coach Bryan Price and trainer Paul Lessard all went to the mound to see him, and Lessard joined him as he walked off the mound.
If Chapman is hurt, even if it’s a minor problem, then there’d seem to be little chance of him beginning the season in the Reds’ rotation. Matt Maloney and Justin Lehr would be the top candidates to replace him.

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.