Brutal development for the Reds out in San Fran.
Staff ace Johnny Cueto was lifted from Saturday night’s NLDS Game 1 against the Giants just eight pitches in after appearing to tweak his side or back on a delivery to No. 2 hitter Marco Scutaro.
Cueto immediately hunched over after the toss and walked off the field alongside two trainers without making much of an argument. It’s safe to wonder whether he’s done for the rest of the postseason.
Sam LeCure, who posted a 3.14 ERA in 57 1/3 regular-season innings, took the mound in his place.
Cueto had a 2.78 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 170/49 K/BB ratio in 33 starts this year for the NL Central champs.
UPDATE, 10:14 PM: Cueto has been diagnosed with back spasms and is merely listed as day-to-day. Considering how bad the situation looked initially, this seems like promising news for the Reds.
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.