On the disabled list since May 1 after aggravating his surgically repaired left wrist, Justin Morneau felt good enough to take 30-40 swings in batting practice yesterday.
Afterward the former MVP told Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com that his wrist is still sore, but added that no new problems emerged from the BP session and he’s planning to simply play through the pain at some point if it doesn’t improve.
Playing through the pain hasn’t worked particularly well for Morneau so far, as he’s missed most of the past two-and-a-half seasons following a concussion in mid-2010 and five unrelated surgeries while hitting just .228 when in the lineup.
Morneau is aiming to be ready once he’s eligible to come off the disabled list tomorrow, which is rough timing considering the Twins’ upcoming interleague series in Milwaukee won’t allow him to get partial rest as a designated hitter. He played 20 games before landing on the DL, but only four came as a first baseman.
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.