Apparently serving as the Phillies’ closer is hazardous to your health.
Brad Lidge has been on the disabled list all season with a shoulder injury, shortly after replacing him in the ninth inning Jose Contreras was shut down with an elbow injury, and now Ryan Madson has been put on the shelf with a bruised hand.
Madson thrived in the closer role, converting 15-of-16 saves with a 2.03 ERA in 31 innings despite oft-repeated doubts about his ability to handle ninth-inning duties.
Contreras recently suffered a setback that will likely keep him out until August, but Lidge is nearing a return and could be ready before the All-Star break. Madson’s stint is backdated and while the numbness he’s experienced is scary it sounds like the Phillies don’t expect him to miss much time, so he could be back as soon as next week. In the meantime Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes that “Antonio Bastardo likely becomes the new closer.”
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.