Jake Westbrook, who signed a two-year, $16.5 million contract to stay with the Cardinals earlier this week, is currently recovering from surgery on his non-throwing shoulder. Our own Aaron Gleeman first passed along news of the surgery last month.
The procedure, which Westbrook told the Associated Press was neither major nor minor, but something “in between,” will prevent him from swinging a bat until early on in spring training.
“It only hurt to swing so I wasn’t too worried about it,” Westbrook said. “I should be good to go when the season starts, and I don’t think they’re too concerned about my hitting. “I’ll be good to go throwing the ball like any other year, so I’m not really sweating the whole swinging thing.”
The 33-year-old right-hander said he originally hurt the shoulder on a swing and miss against Josh Johnson in his second start with the Cardinals on August 7. Welcome to the National League, pal!
Westbrook managed to post a 3.48 ERA and 55/24 K/BB ratio in 12 starts after coming over from the Indians at the deadline, so the injury obviously didn’t affect his performance on the mound or the Cardinals’ willingness to award him with a new contract.
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.