I was walking around morning workouts when I encountered Bobby Abreu throwing the ball with Torii Hunter in the outfield. Torii Hunter has nine gold gloves, by the way, so this exchange was a lot of fun.
Abreu: Don’t think about it. Just get the ball … [throws] … and release.
Abreu: Perfect strike. Just get the ball … [throws] and release. It’s nothin’.
Hunter: [said nothing, laughed a little, and then I imagined he rolled his eyes]
At that point, Abreu got the ball, went into a half-hearted windup as if he were pitching, and threw a strike to Hunter. He turned around at the coaches and players behind him with a smug look on his face, thinking he looked like Verlander or something.
Third Base Coach Dino Ebel: “65 miles an hour”
Abreu: MY ASS!
Did I mention that the Angels seem like they’re having fun?
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.