Ben Francisco exited yesterday’s game with a strained hamstring and today the Blue Jays placed him on the disabled list while recalling first baseman David Cooper from Triple-A.
Francisco has played sparingly for the Blue Jays, getting most of his starts versus left-handed pitching and hitting just .206 with a .535 OPS in 37 plate appearances.
Cooper has impressive Triple-A numbers, batting .347 with more walks (89) than strikeouts (62) in 162 total games there dating back to last season, but Las Vegas is an extremely hitter-friendly environment and his lofty average comes with just 15 homers in 730 plate appearances.
He’s also 25 years old, has never played a position other than first base, and struggled in 27 games for the Blue Jays last season. He could get an extended look at first base following Adam Lind’s demotion to the minors last week, although that would involve manager John Farrell having to juggle the rest of the lineup a bit.
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.