Ron Romanick

The Athletics name their new pitching coach

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You may want to sit down for this, but the A’s have named Ron Romanick their new pitching coach. He was formerly their bullpen coach.

I know. I reacted the same way. In fact, I’ll always remember where I was when I heard the news. Everything is different now. It’s like, everything that happened before I heard this news was in black and white and everything since is in crisply-rendered high definition.

Let’s see, what else . . . Romanick pitched in the big leagues for parts of three seasons with the Angels. They used to be called the California Angels then. His last game was on July 21, 1986. I was on a family vacation to Nova Scotia then. I remember this, because we left right after my 13th birthday, and that was a week before Romanick’s last game. So yeah, we were probably on Cape Breton looking at lobster traps or something around then.  Fun trip, though. We took the car ferry from Yarmouth back to Portland, Maine and since we were in international waters then, 13 year-old kids could play the slot machines. That’s about all I got on Romanick, folks.  If anyone has anything more to add, I’ll consider updating.

Oh, and, um, sorry about the weird pic of him. I know it kind of looks like a hostage “proof of life” photo, but it was the only one of him in an Athletics uniform I could find on the whole Internet.

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.