It was painfully obvious that Francisco Cordero’s toe was killing him while he was getting lit up in four of his six appearances for the Astros. Or at least, that’s what the team is going to tell anyone who asks.
Cordero was placed on the disabled list Friday after taking three blown saves and three losses in his first two weeks with his new club. He gave up 11 runs and 13 hits in five innings, making his 5.77 ERA with the Blue Jays look a whole lot better by contrast.
With Cordero out, the Astros have finally decided to close with their best reliever, Wilton Lopez. Lopez appeared to be the obvious choice to close this spring before the decision to move Brett Myers back to the pen resulted in his return to a setup role. Lopez has a 2.52 ERA in 39 1/3 innings to date, putting him on pace to finish under 3.00 for the third straight year.
Right-hander Mickey Storey was called up to replace Cordero in the bullpen.
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.