Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak spoke to ESPN 101’s Brian Stull on Sunday morning about Chris Carpenter’s neck injury, which has been officially diagnosed as a bulging cervical disc.
Mozeliak didn’t get into many specifics about the diagnosis nor did he speak about a recovery timetable for the 36-year-old right-hander, but he did admit there is an awareness in the organization that a backup plan will be needed if Carpenter is forced to miss the first few weeks of the regular season.
“Internally, we’ve discussed it,” said Mozeliak. “We definitely think we need to implement that Plan B so I think over this week you’ll see someone start to stretch out a little bit.”
Lance Lynn was a starter in the minors and could get consideration. Kyle McClellan is another option, as is lefty Marc Rzepczynski, a former starter in the Blue Jays’ system. The Cardinals also have one of the top pitching prospects in baseball in Shelby Miller, though the plan right now is for him to open in Triple-A.
Free agent right-hander Roy Oswalt seems set on waiting until the middle of the season to join a team, but the St. Louis front office did make an offer to him at one point this winter.
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.