Jesse Crain has been sidelined for more than a week with a strained right oblique muscle and said yesterday that there’s no timetable yet for his return.
Crain was able to play catch Monday, but told Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune that “we haven’t even talked about” when he’ll see game action again and “we are trying to see how I can get better.”
Pitching coach Don Cooper stressed that the White Sox still “have time” to get Crain ready to begin the season on the active roster, but his spring training workload will be very limited and Gonzales indicates that a disabled list stint is a possibility. For now the best-case scenario has Crain throwing off a mound at the end of the week, so it may be a while before he faces live hitters.
Crain, who left the Twins for the White Sox as a free agent last offseason, threw 65 innings with a 2.62 ERA and 70/31 K/BB ratio. He’s owed $4.5 million this season and next season, and could find himself on the trading block if Chicago falls out of contention.
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.