Manuel says Reyes will likely lead off when he returns

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jose reyes headshot mets.jpgBefore the exhibition schedule began, Jerry Manuel had discussed the idea of using Jose Reyes as his No. 3 hitter while Carlos Beltran worked his way back from knee surgery. Of course, the whole plan took a backseat once Reyes was sidelined for two and a half weeks due to a thyroid condition. But now that Reyes has been cleared to resume baseball activities, he tells Brian Costa of the Newark Star-Ledger that his shortstop will likely lead off once he returns to the lineup:

“I would probably see him getting a sense of comfort back in the leadoff
spot right now,” Manuel said. “Now you know me, I’ll change now. I’ll
change on you now.”

Why not? It’s pretty simple. Under the original plan, Reyes would have had four weeks to adapt to being a No. 3 hitter. The Mets no longer have the luxury of time. Figuring that Manuel doesn’t expect Reyes to play this weekend, there would be only six games left on the exhibition schedule. For a player who hasn’t done any physical activity recently, played back-to-back games or even tested his surgically-repaired hamstring against an opposing team, it seems like a little too much to ask. At this point, he’s not even a lock to even open the season on time.

I can tell you that after an absence of almost one calendar year, most Mets fans could care less where Reyes hits as long as he is actually in the lineup.
 

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.