UPDATE: Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that X-rays on Morse’s hand came back negative. He’ll likely have to miss a few days, but it looks like the Nats caught a break.
8:09 PM: The Nationals just announced that Morse left the game with a right hand contusion. We’ll likely hear more on his status after the game.
7:40 PM: Scary moment tonight for the first-place Nationals.
From Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com comes word that Michael Morse left tonight’s game against the Phillies in the first inning after being hit in the right hand by a pitch from Phillies’ right-hander Kyle Kendrick. He was in quite a deal of pain when he left the field and was replaced by Roger Bernadina on the basepaths and in left field.
Losing Morse for an extended period of time would obviously be quite a blow to the Nationals’ offense, which has really clicked over the past two months. The 30-year-old didn’t make his season debut this year until June 2 due to a strained lat muscle, but he’s hitting .286/.316/.459 with 12 home runs, 45 RBI and a .775 OPS in 73 games played.
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.