Todd Helton lands on DL with stiff back, pulled hamstring

Leave a comment

Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, who is sitting on two homers and 16 RBI halfway through the season, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with back and hamstring issues prior to Wednesday’s game.
The Rockies called up quad-A slugger Brad Eldred to replace him on the roster and included him in the lineup for Wednesday’s game aganst the Rockies.
Helton, who has dealt with chronic back troubles for years, is believed to have injured the leg in batting practice last week. He had three straight two-hit games against the Red Sox from June 22-24, but he was just 3-for-22 since. He was without an extra-base hit since homering on June 15.
While Helton has been a mainstay in the Colorado lineup for 13 years now, the Rockies don’t lack for options in replacing him. The 29-year-old Eldred was hitting .267/.323/.575 with 22 homers in Triple-A, and while Colorado Springs is noted for being a great hitting environment, he was performing just as well on the road as at home.
Jason Giambi, who is batting .237/.385/.387 in limited action this season, also figures to see considerable action against righties. A straight platoon is unlikely, though. While Eldred is a right-handed hitter, he was actually performing much better against righties in Triple-A.
The Rockies also have Brad Hawpe and Chris Iannetta as alternatives. Hawpe, while strictly an outfielder as a major leaguer, started his pro career as a first baseman and got a refresher course at the position this spring. Playing him at first would make it easier to get the suddenly red-hot Dexter Fowler into the lineup against righties.
Iannetta is another who has never played first in the majors. However, he has worked out at the position and he got in an inning at third base during Tuesday’s game. He’s gone 7-for-19 with three homers and two doubles in his last five games.

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)
Mike McGinnis/Getty Images
2 Comments

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)
Bob Levey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.