Johnny Cueto left his Game 1 start in the first inning with what was initially said to be back spasms, but the Reds have diagnosed him with a mild right oblique strain.
Not only do they remain undecided about removing Cueto from the playoff roster–which would make him ineligible to return before the World Series–the Reds still haven’t ruled out having him start Game 4 on Wednesday.
That seems awfully unlikely at the very least, but clearly the Reds want to avoid losing Cueto for a potential NLCS matchup if at all possible. And if they win tonight there won’t be a Game 4 and Cueto will have more time to rest.
“But if it’s unavoidable, then that’s something different,” manager Dusty Baker said, via Mark Sheldon of MLB.com “We’re weighing our options.” Baker also confirmed that if the Reds do remove Cueto from the NLDS roster Mike Leake would replace him.
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.