Brian Matusz’s miserable season continued yesterday, as he served up three homers and allowed six runs in 5.1 innings against the Yankees, falling to 1-7 with a 9.07 ERA in nine starts.
Matusz had a very promising rookie season last year and the 24-year-old left-hander looked like a big part of the Orioles’ long-term plans, but he missed the first two months of this season with an intercostal strain and then pitched his way back to the minors once healthy.
When the Orioles called him back up two weeks ago they seemed optimistic that he’d worked out some mechanical kinks and rediscovered his lost velocity, but in three starts since then Matusz has allowed 18 runs in 16 innings while opponents bat .348 with a 1.085 OPS.
He’ll get a chance to improve his numbers down the stretch, but right now the former No. 4 overall pick has joined Chien-Ming Wang in 2009 as the only pitchers since 2005 to throw at least 40 innings with an ERA above 9.00. Wang didn’t get a chance to improve on his 9.64 ERA late in the season because he underwent shoulder surgery from which he’s just now getting back on track.
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.