Padres' Chris Young nearing return to big leagues

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The Padres hit a well-chronicled skid at the end of August and carried that bad momentum into early September.  On top of that, they’re having to be overly protective of some of their young arms.

It has created a tense situation at the top of the National League West standings and the Padres are currently clinging to a mere one-game lead over the Giants.

Now for the good news: a reinforcement may be on the way.

According to Corey Brock of MLB.com, right-hander Chris Young threw 5.2 shutout innings on Saturday night at Single-A Lake Elsinore and is “clearly ready” to return to the big leagues.  Young tossed 3.1 scoreless in his first rehab start last week.

The 31-year-old out of Princeton University has registered only one big-league outing this season and made only 14 appearances in 2009 to some rather shoddy results, but it wasn’t long ago that Young was the ace of the Padres’ staff. 

In 2008, Young turned in a 3.96 ERA and 1.29 WHIP over 18 starts.  He struck out 93 batters in a little over 102 innings.  In 2007, Young had a career-best 3.12 ERA and 1.10 WHIP over 30 starts and tallied 167 strikeouts in 173 innings.

If he can get anywhere near that kind of form, the Padres will be in pretty good shape down the stretch and Mat Latos might be able to find some extra rest.

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.