The Pirates have lost six of their last eight, falling to six games back of the Reds in the National League Central standings. And here’s even more bad news.
From beat writer Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette comes word that second baseman Neil Walker was lifted in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Dodgers after suffering a dislocated finger on his right hand in a nasty collision with Dodgers baserunner Mark Ellis.
Josh Harrison slid over from third base and Pedro Alvarez entered to play the hot corner.
Walker, 26, is batting .290/.353/.452 with 14 home runs and 67 RBI in 114 games played this season. The Pirates will reevaluate him Thursday morning before deciding whether a disabled list stint is necessary.
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.