UPDATE: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that Mauer is more “week-to-week” than he is “day-to-day.” It sure sounds like he could hit the 15-day disabled list.
SATURDAY, 5:34pm: According to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Twins catcher Joe Mauer has been scratched from Saturday’s lineup against the Indians with a bruised left heel. Drew Butera will start behind the plate, making his fourth career major league start.
The Twins have also recalled catcher Wilson Ramos from Triple-A Rochester, which might be an indication that Mauer’s injury is rather serious. Not serious in that he will need DL time, but enough so that he could miss the next two or three games.
Mauer, who inked a massive $184 million contract extension this spring to remain in the Twin Cities long-term, has a .345/.406/.500 batting line through 84 at-bats this season, but has hit just one home run and has collected only 13 RBI. By his other-worldly standards — and solely from a power standpoint — it’s been a slow start.
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.