2011 is going to be one big victory lap for Bert Blyleven.
The Twins announced Thursday night at their annual Diamond Awards that they plan to retire his No. 28 during “Bert Blyleven Day” on July 16, prior to a game against the Texas Rangers. Blyleven will be inducted to the Hall of Fame alongside Roberto Alomar and Pat Gillick on July 24.
The press release from the team reads in part:
“2011 is going to be a special year for the Blyleven family, the Twins organization and millions of fans across Twins Territory,” said Twins CEO Jim Pohlad. “As excitement builds for Bert’s induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Twins organization is proud to bestow our highest honor with the retirement of his jersey – number 28. Bert Blyleven Day is aimed at celebrating Bert’s incredible contributions on and off the field, while also providing he and his family a proper send-off to Cooperstown.”
Blyleven will be the sixth player Twins player to have his number retired, joining Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Kent Hrbek and Kirby Puckett.
The No. 28 had been worn by Jesse Crain for the past seven seasons, but he signed a three-year, $13 million contract with the White Sox last month.
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.