Daric Barton isn’t sufficiently recovered from September shoulder surgery, so he’ll begin the season on the disabled list while the A’s go with Brandon Allen and Kila Ka’aihue at first base.
Barton was once firmly established as Oakland’s long-term first baseman and had an underrated, All-Star caliber season in 2010 with a .393 on-base percentage and league-leading 110 walks, but he hit just .212 in 67 games last season before going under the knife and is now a big question mark.
Manager Bob Melvin told Jane Lee of MLB.com that Barton needs to build up his arm strength and prove that he can play multiple games in a row before coming off the disabled list is an option, but backdating the stint to their trip to Japan means he’s eligible to return as soon as Sunday.
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.