Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg left tonight’s game against the Braves after two innings due to an apparent back injury. The location of the injury is one part good news, one part bad news. The good: it’s not his elbow or shoulder, as Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post notes. The bad: Strasburg had dealt with back issues prior to tonight’s start. Kilgore also points out that Strasburg’s velocity dipped from 98 MPH to the mid-90’s within a span of several pitches. Craig Stammen relieved him in the third inning.
Strasburg entered the night with a 2.49 ERA in 72.1 innings, following up on an All-Star season in which he went 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA. His ouster is particularly worrisome when taken in tandem with the news that Harper continues to be bothered by his left knee and may require a stint on the disabled list.
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.