Can’t say I’ve ever seen this one before. In the fourth inning of last night’s Pirates-Cubs game, Lastings Milledge launched a ball towards left field. The fireworks fired! The music played! Lastings began to circle the bases and . . . got tagged out between second and third. Wha?
Seems that the ball merely bounced off the wall. You can watch it here. Obviously whoever is in charge of the music and pyrotechnics jumped the gun a little. After the game Milledge admitted that he was watching the sky and not the umpires’ signal, saying “I never thought that it didn’t go out because the music was playing and
Given that (a) the announcer thought it was gone too and (b) the Pirates had a 10-0 lead at the time we can classify this as a venial sin instead of a mortal one, but really Lastings: next time watch for the umpire to twirl his finger around in the air. I promise that they’ll let you trot on home if you stop on second and it does turn out to be a homer.
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.