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Mets approached “Cougar Life” dating website in attempt to get All-Star votes for David Wright

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David Wright lost out to the Giants’ Pablo Sandoval in the balloting for the National League third base job on the All-Star team last season and he’s trailing him again in the voting this year. However, with the All-Star Game at Citi Field next month, the Mets are trying to pull out all the stops to get their hometown player into the starting lineup. And their push took them to an interesting place.

According to Deadspin, the Mets approached the niche dating website “Cougar Life” last Friday to see if they would be interested in promoting Wright’s All-Star campaign. That’s right, “Cougar Life.” There is a little bit of history with this website, as Wright apparently won something called “MLB’s Hottest Cub” earlier this year.

Anyway, after some back and forth, the Mets backed out of the potential arrangement. Still, the emails from the Mets were leaked to Deadspin, which was enough for the team to release a statement this afternoon.

“Cougar Life voted David Wright as the hottest cub. In our effort to expand All-Star balloting to wider audiences, so as to increase votes, we did reach out to Cougar Life. Last year there was a big swing of votes at the end that cost David the starting job. We decided to do everything to make sure that doesn’t happened again this year. We ultimately elected to pass. We thank whoever leaked this to Deadspin for increasing awareness of #VOTEWRIGHTNOW AT METS.COM.”

Cougars vs. Pandas? I get the angle.

While Wright is appreciative of the Mets’ efforts, he told Adam Rubin of ESPN New York after today’s loss that he has asked the team to scale back their promotional efforts for him, especially during games at Citi Field.

“You appreciate what they’re trying to do, and they’re very good-hearted. At the same time, this is a team game. As much as I’d like to be here to represent this team in the All-Star Game, we can’t let this become an in-between-inning, one-player production. Especially with the way we’re playing as a team, I feel very uncomfortable being singled out for All-Star-Game-type stuff.”

As for being named “Hottest Cub,” Wright said, “I guess I’d like to thanks my parents for the genes.” It’s ultimately a little embarrassing for all involved, but at least Wright has a sense of humor about the whole thing.

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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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.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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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.