Mac Thomason

Mac Thomason of Braves Journal nears the end of his battle with cancer

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Awful news from Alex Remington, who has become the caretaker of Mac Thomason’s Braves Journal. Mac has been moved to hospice. Nothing in life is certain, but it seems like Mac’s years-long battle with cancer is nearing its end.

I wrote about Mac last October when his prognosis became bleak and he set off from his home in Alabama to go to Philadelphia for experimental treatment.  Always one to (jokingly) hate on anything and everything that is not the Atlanta Braves, I’m sure Mac has felt no small amount of irony being in Philly all of this time.  After all, he taught me everything I know about Philly trolling. I force it, but for him it was effortless. Like this sort of thing, from the beginning of some random series against the Phillies sometime in the past few years:

“Philadelphia, known as “The City of Brotherly Love” ever since Benjamin Franklin invented sarcasm in 1767, is the largest city in Pennsylvania and a suburb of New York.”

Always droll and always cranky. And his readers love him for it.

There’s no way I’m doing what I do today if it weren’t for Mac. I had let my baseball fandom wane a great bit by the time I stumbled over Braves Journal. He allowed me to catch up when life seemed too busy for baseball, and eventually it became so enjoyable catching up over at Braves Journal each day I made the time for it. All because a university librarian from Alabama had nothing better to do with his nights than watch every single Braves game and recap it.  And yeah, I pretty much ripped off the tone of his recaps for “And That Happened.”

Here’s hoping Mac’s final days, if indeed these are his final days, are comfortable and peaceful. Thanks for your inspiration, Mac.

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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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.