Apparently the Mets really like to use their left-handed specialists a lot.
Pedro Feliciano led the league in appearances in 2008, 2009, and 2010 while pitching for the Mets, setting the all-time record for appearances by a left-hander in 2010 with 92. And now the Mets’ current southpaw specialist, Scott Rice, is on pace to break that record.
Rice, who’s a 31-year-old rookie getting his first taste of the majors after 14 seasons in the minors, has appeared in 30 of the Mets’ first 50 games. That puts him on pace for 97 appearances, which would be the most ever by a lefty and the second-most of all time behind only Mike Marshall’s ridiculous, Cy Young-winning 1974 season in which he threw 208 innings in 106 appearances.
Here’s the all-time leaderboard:
Mike Marshall 1974 106
Salomon Torres 2006 96
Kent Tekulve 1979 94
Pedro Feliciano 2010 92
Mike Marshall 1973 92
Not bad for a guy who had a 4.40 ERA at Triple-A last season and was pitching in an independent league in 2011.
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.