Obama First Pitch

Obama will not be at Opening Day

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In case you care about such things:

The White House and the Washington Nationals say President Barack Obama is skipping the season opener, despite a standing invitation for the first fan to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

What is there, a war on? Oh, yeah. Well, I suppose there is.

Look, I’m going to level with you: if I were President, most of my energy in the job would be to get free crap that no one else can get. I’d be throwing out first pitches to the point where teams would start feeling awkward and trying to make excuses for me not to come. I’d be calling command performances by bands who haven’t played together in years (“Well, Mr. Biafra, I don’t care if your spoken-word tour has sold out coffee shops all over the Pacific northwest. I want you, Ray and the others setting up in the Rose Garden and playing “Holiday in Cambodia” by Friday, or else you’re all getting audited”).

Maybe this isn’t the kind of president America wants. But it’s the kind of president America needs. Because life was a lot more fun back in the 90s when our nation was preoccupied with silly b.s. most of the time and fewer people were getting bombed.

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.