Johan Santana throwing

Johan Santana could be cleared for rehab start next week

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Johan Santana is about 10 months removed from shoulder surgery and Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reports that he might be ready for a return to game action in the minors.

Santana threw a three-inning simulated game today and is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday, at which point the Mets could clear him to begin a rehab assignment.

Prior to coming off the disabled list today David Wright faced Santana while rehabbing a back injury of his own in Florida and gave Rubin a pretty encouraging scouting report on the two-time Cy Young winner’s status:

The stuff’s there. I just think that little extra oomph isn’t quite there at this time, but that’s expected. … There’s no question he’s building momentum.

Various reports throughout the past few months have pegged mid-August as the goal for Santana returning to the majors and that certainly looks plausible now. However, with two years and $55 million remaining on Santana’s contract there isn’t a ton of difference between his rejoining the rotation in mid-August or even for just a few starts in September. As long as he heads into the offseason healthy and with some reps against big-league hitters under his belt the Mets should be happy. So far so good.

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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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.