Los Aneles Dodgers

No, Vin Scully did not “crush” Mike Piazza back in 1998

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Mike Piazza’s book contains critical words about Vin Scully, with Piazza claiming that back in a 1998 interview Scully “was crushing” Piazza over his contract negotiation ultimatum and that that helped turned the fans in Los Angeles against him.  Scully denied it and, even if he hadn’t, it didn’t really pass the smell test because when was the last time Scully crushed anyone?

KTLA, the station which employed Scully at the time dug up the footage of the interview and the L.A. Times has it for you to go see. You’ll be shocked to learn that Scully does not “crush” Piazza.  He acknowledges there was a contract negotiation afoot because (a) there was; and (b) it was the biggest story of Dodgers spring training that year and it would be broadcaster malpractice to not at least acknowledge it. But crushing? Hardly:

Yet the closest thing to criticism Scully said referred to Piazza’s self-imposed Feb. 15 deadline to get his desired contract extension resolved, saying “ultimatum is a heavy word, you know that’s the kind of thing, if you don’t do this, we bomb you.”

Piazza actually gave a solid response to this incredible grilling, which Scully acknowledged with a “well said.”

I’m still not a fan of people that accuse Piazza of stuff without any evidence for doing so. But this episode does suggest that, when it comes to his own life, Piazza is not the most reliable narrator.

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.