Carl Crawford appeared in only 31 games in 2012 and battled elbow inflammation this spring, so the Dodgers are treating him with extra care early on.
According to beat writer Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, the outfielder is on the bench for the Dodgers’ second regular-season game Tuesday night against the rival Giants. Jerry Hairston Jr. will start in left field and bat out of the leadoff spot vs. San Francisco left-hander Madison Bumgarner.
Crawford went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored in the Dodgers’ season-opening victory Monday over the Giants. But right-hander Matt Cain started that game. Crawford owns an .811 career OPS against righties and a .688 career OPS against southpaws.
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.