Cla Meredith’s bid to win a bullpen spot after signing a minor-league contract with the Nationals was delayed right away by elbow soreness and now, after his surgically repaired elbow checked out fine, the side-arming reliever tweaked his back during fielding drills today.
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that Meredith had to be taken off the field in a golf cart, which either isn’t a good sign or means he’s one of the Mets’ owners.
Meredith has been a solid middle reliever throughout his career, posting good numbers despite a fastball that tops out in the high-80s because his side-arm delivery is very tough on right-handed hitters and he induces a ton of ground balls. He has a 3.62 ERA in 283 career innings, but struggled last season before having bone chips removed from his elbow and is no sure thing to earn a job with the Nationals even if healthy.
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.