Bryce Harper AP

Bryce Harper: Philly has “a great fan base”

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Man, sometimes it’s like people don’t want to throw chum in the water and make life easy for hater bloggers like me. From Brookover’s latest:

Harper also showed some reverence toward the city and also displayed a keen sense of Philadelphia’s sports history by naming some old-time stars. He named this city as one of the places he was most looking forward to play.

“Definitely, coming in here and playing the Phillies who have been a great team and coming into a place that has a lot of history and a great organization,” Harper said. “You’re playing in a place where Mike Schmidt and guys like that played. It’s going to be a lot of fun in here. They have a great fan base and we’re going to come in here and try to prove some people wrong.”

That quote came before the fans (somewhat inexplicably) booed him every time he came to the plate last night. The fans obviously couldn’t have read his words beforehand, of course.  I do wonder, however, if the tune will soon change given words like these and given the fact that, based on is demeanor and his performances against the Phillies so far, he has done nothing to earn the jeers.

(hat tip to ‘Cepts, who shall remain in commenter exile but, having been struck down by me, has become more powerful than I ever realized).

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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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.