Hip surgery, not thumb surgery reportedly nixed the Rangers' offseason trade for Mike Lowell

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When the Rangers pulled out of a nearly completed trade with the Red Sox for Mike Lowell this winter the assumption was that they did so because he needed thumb surgery.
However, now Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports that worries about Lowell’s surgically repaired hip actually nixed the deal, as the Rangers and other teams considered the thumb injury a much lesser concern.
After barely playing for the past three months Lowell was placed on the disabled list yesterday with what the Red Sox called a strained hip. Speier notes that “in some major league corners, Lowell’s trip to the disabled list will be viewed as validation of those concerns.”
Lowell was even slower than usual while running out a ground ball in a rare pinch-hitting appearance Tuesday and admitted afterward that his hip was “barking.” Here’s some more from Lowell:

I don’t think [going on the DL] helps my cause, but I don’t think there’s a team out there that says, “We’re getting this guy the way he was in 2004.” That was part of the reason why I wanted to tell [manager Terry Francona about the hip injury] because I don’t really know what talks are going on but if they are, I don’t want to look like the guy that’s being dishonest. If it affects it, it affects it. I’d still rather go this route. I think it’s the right one.

Between the nixed trade and subsequent lack of playing time Lowell has handled things about as well as possible, and not wanting to deceive a potential new team fits with that approach. Texas and Minnesota were recently said to be interested in Lowell, but obviously Boston is going to have a tough time convincing any team to give up a decent prospect or take on a significant portion of his remaining salary at this point.

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.