David Ortiz continued his recent hot-hitting on Friday night, slugging two mammoth home runs and driving in four runs in a 7-2 win over the Tigers.
The first home run, a three-run shot off the struggling Max Scherzer in the first inning, traveled an estimated distance of 459 feet to right-center field, according to HitTracker, good enough for one of the longest home runs hit in the major leagues this season.
Of course, it wasn’t long ago that most of us were ready to give up on the 34-year-old slugger. After all, he batted just .143 (8-for-56) with one home run and four RBI in April. But after his big night on Friday, Ortiz is hitting .333 (11-for-33) with five home runs and 11 RBI over nine games in May. He enters Saturday’s action with a season-high .213/.283/.483 batting line.
In turn, Ortiz has some words for those who doubted him, via Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald:
“I’m feeling good,” he said. “Swinging the bat – seeing the ball and
hitting it, man. You know? There’s people that know a lot about the
game, they think they got everything figured out. Just tell them that
the season is not over after April. It’s over after October.”
Noted. Ortiz is certainly showing signs of life here, but what I’m most interested to see is whether Red Sox manager Terry Francona will push his DH platoon to the side on Saturday and start Ortiz against the left-hander Dontrelle Willis.
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.