Dexter Fowler is currently on the disabled list with an abdominal injury and recently started a minor-league rehab assignment, but Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies have told the center fielder he’ll remain at Triple-A even after getting healthy.
In other words, the rehab assignment will eventually turn into a demotion and then Fowler will have to play his way back to the majors. All of which is what may have happened anyway had the injury not occurred.
According to Renck the Rockies have told Fowler that he “needs to make significant adjustments with his left-handed swing,” which has been a frequent topic this week as speculation swirls around his possibly giving up switch-hitting.
However, as our own Matthew Pouliot pointed out yesterday Fowler’s production throughout his career as a left-handed hitter hasn’t been that much worse than his production as a right-handed hitter, and in fact last season he had a higher OPS from the left side.
Fowler hasn’t exactly been dominant as a right-handed hitter and the much bigger issue is that he’s hit just .225 with a .646 OPS in 172 career games away from Coors Field. Which side of the plate he’s swinging from seems to be getting far too much attention and the fact that he’s simply not a very good hitter, period, seems to be getting overlooked.
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.