Indians closer Chris Perez enjoyed a silky smooth Cactus League debut on Thursday, throwing just five pitches in a hitless inning against the Rockies.
MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian has the full report.
Perez missed most of spring training after suffering a left oblique strain during a late-February bullpen session. But he pitched in two minor league games before Thursday’s debut and is scheduled to make two more Cactus League appearances before the Indians head north next week. The bearded 26-year-old should be completely up to speed by Opening Day.
Perez registered a cool 3.32 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 59 2/3 innings last season while tallying 36 saves.
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.