Hong-Chih Kuo’s agent told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times that the injured left-hander has no plans to retire despite battling anxiety issues during the season and needing a fifth elbow surgery.
Kuo is scheduled to go under the knife tomorrow, but the surgery is a relatively minor removal of “loose bodies” from his elbow and the recovery timetable is expected to be just 6-8 weeks. Or as Dodgers trainer Stan Conte put it: “It’s a minor surgery for anyone other than Kuo.”
Assuming the Dodgers tender him a contract for next season Kuo will be in line for at least $2.75 million via the arbitration process and while his health has always been a huge question mark he’s still just 30 years old. And even while struggling with extreme control problems this season Kuo racked up 36 strikeouts in 27 innings after posting a 1.96 ERA and 201 strikeouts in 170 innings from 2008-2010.
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.