Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York heard from a source Saturday that the Yankees dismissed pitching coach Dave Eiland this fall because his relationship with manager Joe Girardi turned sour near the middle of the 2010 season. That source may be correct, but Eiland is denying all claims about burned bridges.
Eiland took a month-long leave of absence from the Yanks in June for personal reasons and Marchand’s source said that the veteran Yankee coach felt that his opinions were being “deemphasized” by the club upon returning.
Eiland doesn’t remember it that way. He told the New York Daily News on Saturday that he did not leave the Yankees on a sour note and that his relationship with Girardi is still healthy.
“That’s absolutely ridiculous and simply not true,” Eiland told the Daily News in reaction to ESPN New York’s published story. “Joe and I have never had a problem nor do we now. He’s a solid baseball man and a great manager, and more importantly one of the best human beings I have ever met.”
When it was first announced that Eiland would not be returning for the 2011 season, Yankees GM Brian Cashman called it his own decision and a “private” matter. It’s hard to know what to believe, and the Yanks aren’t likely to reveal all of the actual happenings that led to the pitching coach’s departure. We may never get a straight answer.
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.