Jim Thome

The Indians are getting the band back together tonight

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I mentioned earlier that I’m going up to the Cleveland-Minnesota game tonight.  Some people asked me why on Earth I would do that. Well (a) it’s baseball and baseball is wonderful; and (b) there’s some to-do afoot tonight regarding Jim Thome.

Specifically, the Indians will honor Thome with a special ceremony, complete with a presentation (I’m guessing it’s a sack of ‘taters) and a video tribute. Former Tribe manager Mike Hargrove will be there. So will Thome’s old salad days teammates Sandy Alomar, Jr., Carlos Baerga, Paul Sorrento and Chad Ogea (one of these things, is not like the others … one of these things just doesn’t belong …).  Word on the street is that Albert Belle will be there if they can find that Hannibal Lecter straight jacket/face mask/hand truck setup before game time.  If Manny Acta had any sense of the occasion he’d put Thome in at third base.

In addition, all fans will receive a Jim Thome 600 HR commemorative poster.  Which is actually damn cool. There will also be a fireworks show “synchronized to Alternative Rock … which will also pay tribute to Jim Thome and his 600 HR milestone.”  Which may be damn cool or may be the most ridiculous thing ever. Either way, I’m looking forward to it.

I’ll be in the Tribe Social Suite with the other blogger and social media-types, but if anyone else plans to be at the game, drop a line in the comments or on Twitter or to my email or something and we can try to meet up at some point during or after the game. Because really, no one should watch a Jim Thome-themed Alternative Rock fireworks show by themselves.

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.