Justin Morneau just can’t catch a break.
After sitting out nine months following a concussion last July he returned to the Twins’ lineup to hit just .225 with four homers and a .619 OPS in 55 games before being placed on the disabled list with a wrist injury last week.
And now Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Morneau “will undergo surgery to alleviate neck pain” and is expected to miss “about six weeks.”
Morneau complained about neck pain as far back as the middle of spring training and revealed a few weeks ago that he was playing through a pinched nerve, but Twins trainer Rick McWane told Souhan that the injury is not related to last year’s concussion
Minnesota’s season has been wrecked by injuries to nearly every key contributor and now Morneau joins Joe Mauer, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, and Jason Kubel in missing significantly more time than initially expected. And in this case the official reason for Morneau being placed on the DL wasn’t even his neck. What a mess.
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.