Seven days after announcing that they were shifting him from the rotation into the closer’s role, the White Sox revealed today that Chris Sale will start Saturday’s game against the Royals.
The original move was made by the White Sox field staff, but Sale lobbied GM Ken Williams to remain in the rotation and will get his way.
Williams said that an MRI on Sale’s elbow came back “clean and pristine” but that he’ll continue to be monitored. Sale will be expected to be honest about the state of his arm going forward. It was concerns about his elbow and his ability to hold up as a starter that prompted last week’s switch.
Sale was supposed to replace Hector Santiago as the White Sox closer, but now that appears to be Addison Reed’s job. It probably should have been Reed’s role all along anyway.
Sale is 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA in five starts this season. He made one relief appearance after the move, giving up an unearned run in the eighth inning Tuesday and getting charged with a blown save.
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.