Did you know that the Mets won the World Series? For a little while, that’s what 27-year-old Ilan Grapel thought.
Grapel, a law student from Queens, New York, was freed Thursday after spending five months in an Egyptian prison. He was accused of spying for Israel in June after attending a demonstration in Cairo during the country’s uprising. The United States helped broker a deal this week to set him free as part of a prisoner swap.
According to the New York Post, Grapel was celebrating his release from isolation with a press conference in Tel Aviv when Rep. Gary Ackerman from New York let everyone in on the joke.
“There’s so many people to thank,” he said, “and after being cut off for the past five months …”
Ackerman quickly interjected, “We told him the Mets won the World Series.”
You know, because the poor guy didn’t suffer enough.
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.