Batting fifth and playing third base, Hanley Ramirez tripled in his first at-bat with the Dodgers and later added an RBI single, but it wasn’t enough as the club lost to the Cardinals 3-2 in 12 innings.
Ramirez is expected to move back to shortstop for the Dodgers, but since he hadn’t played there at all this season, manager Don Mattingly made the call to leave him at third base tonight.
Ramirez had an odd play defensively anyway, as Yadier Molina’s grounder went off his glove with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Fortunately, the ball deflected right to shortstop Luis Cruz, who was able to make the throw to first in time to retire Molina and send a 2-2 game to extra innings.
Ramirez walked to lead off the 12th in his final plate appearance. However, he never made it past first, as James Loney and Cruz struck out behind him and A.J. Ellis flied out to end the inning.
The Cardinals won when ex-Dodger Rafael Furcal singled in pinch-runner Joe Kelly in the bottom of the 12th. The injured Lance Berkman started that rally with a walk and was immediately removed. With two outs, Matt Carpenter hit a single to center that should have put runners on the corners, except Kelly slipped on second base as he made the turn and had to stay put. He scored anyway on Furcal’s hit, which was mishandled by Tony Gwynn Jr. in left.
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.