Rich Hill’s injury leaves the Red Sox short of a left-handed reliever and opens the door for Hideki Okajima to potentially be called back up from Triple-A, but Okajima told Michael Vega of the Boston Globe that he “would rather not be called up in this situation.”
Demoted to Triple-A for the second time this season, Okajima called it “a new start for me” explained that “hopefully along the line another team will show more interest in me and I can be traded.”
Of course, it’s unclear whether the Red Sox would seriously consider recalling Okajima to fill Hill’s spot anyway. He’s obviously fallen out of favor in a big way and they were willing to lose him on waivers for nothing last week, but predictably no other teams were willing to take on the remainder of his $1.75 million salary.
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.