Derek Jeter returned last night for his first game action at shortstop since breaking his leg in the ALCS. He got exactly one defensive chance: a grounder right to him, which he fielded cleanly, natch.
He said he felt fine. The Yankees say he won’t play back-to-back games in the field for a while. But he is expected to be on track for Opening Day.
In other news: that picture of Jeter brings home just how important the Yankees uniforms are to the mystique, yes? I’m not kidding. How different would be think of Jeter if he routinely played with some team in a central division that routinely wore the softball uniform alternate jerseys as opposed to the clean and businesslike pinstripes and road grays?
It’s easy to mock the whole Yankees’ mystique and aura thing, but there are elements of truth to it. Even if he had won five rings playing for, say, Colorado, how much more of an iconic figure is Jeter for having played in pinstripes?
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.