Tommy Lasorda’s 84th birthday is Thursday and the Hall of Famer will celebrate by serving as an honorary Dodgers coach against the rival Giants.
Lasorda, who managed the Dodgers from 1976 to 1996, told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that he was thrilled to get the invite from current manager Don Mattingly:
I am so deeply honored and grateful that Don would ask me to do this. I loved every minute of managing during my 20 seasons with the Dodgers, and it is always outstanding to put on the Dodger uniform.
Hopefully it goes better than the time Lasorda was the NL’s third base coach during the 2001 All-Star game. Incidentally, I saw Lasorda on last night’s episode of “Hell’s Kitchen” on FOX and his 10-second appearance predictably involved a conversation about pasta. Type casting!
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.