Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays

Evan Longoria is batting leadoff this afternoon

1 Comment

Here’s something interesting.

According to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times, Evan Longoria will bat leadoff for the first time in his career this afternoon against the Indians.

Longoria missed the entire month of April with an oblique injury and is batting just .209/.317/.372 over his first 101 plate appearances this season, so Rays manager Joe Maddon is trying to shake him out of his slump. The 25-year-old third baseman has primarily batted third or fourth during his career.

It’s difficult to criticize Maddon for this one. Longoria is having some issues with pitch recognition right now, but he’s also making contact at a career-high rate of 87.6 percent. It’s a super small sample size, of course, but we have a larger body of evidence telling us that pretty soon those outs will turn into hits. When you consider that the Rays are batting just .211/.268/.319 out of the leadoff spot this season, it’s a worthwhile short-term experiment.

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)
Mike McGinnis/Getty Images
2 Comments

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)
Bob Levey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.