In the weekend wrap this morning I had a joke in there about Clint Hurdle taking the Pirates’ job on the basis of “hey, how could I do any worse than the last guy?” I deleted that, though, because the real reason he took the Pirates job — aside from wanting to continue his managerial career and maybe help them win — is not at all snark-worthy. From John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times:
One of the primary reasons why Hurdle would prefer to take the Pirates’ job instead of waiting to see if the Mets make him an offer is that his 8-year-old daughter Madison was born with Prader-Willi Syndrome. The disease, which affects about one in every 12,000 people, is a chromosomal disorder that typically causes low muscle tone, short stature if not treated with growth hormone and an insatiable appetite that can lead to life-threatening obesity
The Children’s Institute, located Squirrel Hill, is one of the nation’s foremost providers of care for those affected with Prader-Willi. Hurdle serves as the national spokesman for the Prader-Willi Foundation.
Baseball players and coaches spend years, if not decades, trying to balance their professional and family lives while working an in industry that, by necessity, makes them into itinerants. That Hurdle will be able to fulfill both his professional and familial interests by taking the Pirates’ job will make me root for the Pirates a hell of a lot more than did before I knew this.
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.