At age 31 career minor leaguer Dale Thayer has done an excellent job as the Padres’ fill-in closer, saving five games with a 0.00 ERA and 10/0 K/BB ratio in 10 innings stepping into the ninth-inning role for Huston Street.
However, before going on the disabled list with a shoulder injury Street was also pitching very well with a 0.93 ERA and 13/2 K/BB ratio in 10 innings and he’s showing signs of returning to the closer role soon.
Steve Overbey of MLB.com reports that Street threw yesterday for the fifth straight day and is on track for a bullpen session early next week, at which point the Padres could schedule a brief minor-league rehab assignment.
Barring a setback returning by the end of next week might even possible and every indication is that Street will resume closing, pushing Thayer back into a setup role alongside Andrew Cashner and Luke Gregerson in what could be one of the league’s best bullpens.
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.