Here’s an interesting note from the Associated Press concerning the recent offensive struggles of Indians right fielder Shin-Soo Choo:
Choo believes he is thinking too much and trying too hard to make a good impression since he was charged with drunken driving.
The note is not accompanied by any kind of quote from Choo, so we’ll just have to assume that the Korean-born outfielder has indeed expressed that DUI-related frustration to reporters. The numbers certainly add up.
Choo was arrested on May 2 for driving under the influence of alcohol outside downtown Cleveland. He blew a .201 blood-alcohol level in a state where the legal blood-alcohol limit is .08. Since that arrest, the 28-year-old outfielder has hit just .233/.316/.320 with one home run and seven RBI in 27 games. He has struck out 30 times and drawn just 10 walks in that span. This from a guy who still owns a superb .857 career OPS.
Choo is batting sixth in the Indians’ lineup Sunday for the first time this season. He normally bats third.
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.