At least one person is optimistic about Johan Santana’s health status, as manager Terry Collins told reporters this morning that “in my mind, in my heart, he’ll be ready” to start on Opening Day.
That came after Santana threw another bullpen session and reported no problems, although he still has a long way to go after missing all of last season following 2010 shoulder surgery.
For now the Mets are planning to have Santana throw every five days throughout spring training, so he’ll need to avoid plenty of setbacks before a Game 1 start becomes a realistic possibility. Near the end of last season Santana appeared in multiple minor-league games with an eye on rejoining the Mets’ rotation for a handful of starts, only to be shut down again.
I’d set the over/under for Santana starts this season at around 20.
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.