The Braves haven’t promised Jason Heyward the starting right field job next season, but he’ll at least go into the winter with some peace of mind about his right shoulder.
According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, an MRI on Heyward’s shoulder came back negative. The 22-year-old missed four weeks during the first half of the season due to recurring soreness, an injury which likely contributed to his disappointing sophomore campaign. While tests haven’t revealed anything serious, he’ll be placed on a “maintenance and stretching program” to help strengthen the shoulder.
After finishing as the runner-up to Giants’ catcher Buster Posey for National League Rookie of the Year in 2010, Heyward batted just .227/.319/.389 with 14 home runs, 42 RBI and a .708 OPS over 454 plate appearances this 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.