9:02 PM: Now Clark Spencer reports that Hanley may opt out of the Derby and will wait until Saturday to make his decision official. Wait, this really is like the LeBron junk.
“I want to do it, but I don’t know,” Ramirez said. “I’ve never
done that and I don’t know how I would feel after. I’m just worried
about how my bat is going to feel after. I’m just thinking about the
team. I’ve got to be there in the second half.”
Ramirez said peer pressure from his teammates made him initially accept the invitation.
8:40 PM: Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez announced Thursday that he has agreed to participate in next week’s Home Run Derby, according to the Associated Press.
Take that, LeBron … or something.
Brewers outfielder Corey Hart and Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday have also agreed to represent the National League, while Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz and Blue Jays outfielder Vernon Wells will participate for of the American League. An additional player from each league is still needed.
Hanley has tallied only 13 home runs in 311 at-bats this season, but he finished with 24 last year and a career-high 33 in 2009. He is currently batting .296/.376/.489.
The Home Run Derby will take place Monday night at Angels Stadium.
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.