Nate McLouth was placed on the disabled list last week with a lower abdominal strain, but Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that the Braves outfielder underwent sports hernia surgery yesterday and is expected to miss six more weeks.
McLouth hasn’t ruled out playing again this season, but he’ll definitely be up against the clock and a rehab assignment won’t be possible as part of his recovery because the minor-league season will be over by then.
Of course, with Michael Bourn taking his place as the Braves’ starting center fielder there isn’t as much incentive to rush McLouth back. He was hitting just .228 with a .677 OPS in 81 games prior to the injury and that production looks even worse in an outfield corner.
Interestingly, when the Braves placed McLouth on the DL last week manager Fredi Gonzalez indicated that he’d been playing through the abdominal injury since the first week of the season. Given the need for surgery now that could explain his struggles, although McLouth hit even worse last season.
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.