Pitching in back-to-back games for the first time since being placed on the disabled list two weeks ago with a strained back, Hong-Chih Kuo allowed hits to four of the five batters he faced last night at Single-A.
Kuo had been slated to be activated Friday, but now Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports that his return “is in doubt.”
His entire career has been filled with dominating performances in between injuries, but most of the previous problems have been arm-related and the Dodgers’ bullpen could really use him with Jonathan Broxton struggling and no one quite sure who should be closing games.
Kuo was nearly unhittable last season, throwing 60 innings with a 1.20 ERA and 73/18 K/BB ratio while opponents batted a ridiculous .139 against him. He has a 3.19 ERA in 268 career innings and his 10.5 strikeouts per nine innings lead all active left-handed pitchers.
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.