Despite battling a case of shingles, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa made his regular weekly appearance Sunday on KMOX radio and gave an update on his status. B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest has the goods.
“We’re going to get together with (general manager) John Mozeliak and our team doctors and trainers tomorrow and figure out the smartest thing to do,” La Russa said Sunday. “I’ll be patient one more day and see what that discussion goes like. It’s been hard because you take responsibility for your position and being there but the only thing that’s really helped is I know the quality of our staff. There wasn’t anything that happened that I could have done anything better with.”
La Russa missed his sixth consecutive game Sunday afternoon in Cincinnati, but he’s been calling in daily lineups to acting manager Joe Pettini and staying plenty active with the day-to-day operations of the club.
The Cards open a two-game series against the Phillies on Monday in St. Louis and then host the Astros for a two-game set Wednesday and Thursday. It seems likely that La Russa will return during that four-game span.
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.