On the heels of a historically-great 2012 season in which he finished as a runner-up to Miguel Cabrera in the AL MVP race, Angels outfielder Mike Trout started off 2013 very slowly. Through the first ten games, he was hitting .227 with 12 strikeouts in 47 plate appearances. He would proceed to have multi-hit games in six out of his next seven games and hasn’t stopped lighting the American League up since.
Trout credits Albert Pujols for his early-season recovery, tweets Buster Olney:
Pujols hasn’t had the same success, unfortunately. Dealing with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, Pujols enters tonight’s game against the White Sox hitting .239 with a sub-.600 OPS in the month of May. The 33-year-old is in the second year of a ten-year, $240 million contract with the Angels.
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.