As expected, the Rangers have removed Alexi Ogando from the playoff roster following his oblique injury last night and replaced him with Dustin Nippert.
It’s a tough break for the Rangers, who were already without their top right-handed setup man in Frank Francisco. Ogando emerged as a viable alternative with a 1.30 ERA in 41.2 regular season innings and six innings of one-run ball this postseason, but now his injury leaves Darren Oliver and Darren O’Day to do an awful lot of heavy lifting in front of closer Neftali Feliz.
And since Ron Washington uses Feliz in such a rigid way the Rangers’ middle relievers and setup men have longer gaps to the closer to bridge than they should anyway. If the Rangers call Nippert into a game then you know something went terribly wrong, because he’s a 29-year-old with a 5.31 ERA in 268 career innings.
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.