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Korean player finds black pitcher to be a bit too black

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Saw this via Baseball Think Factory. On the one hand, oh my stars and garters that anyone would say something like this. But really, this makes me laugh out loud more than anything because it’s so damn matter-of-fact that finding actual racism in it as opposed to just cringingly-bad social awkwardness is a real stretch.

First baseman Kim Tae Kyun of the KBO’s Hanwa Eagles was asked which pitcher he had the hardest time against. He said Shane Youman, who is an American playing for the Lotte Giants. Youman is black, you see, and that creates some issues according to Kim:

“The Lotte Giants’ Youman is the most difficult player to play against. His face is too black, so it is hard to bat because his white teeth and the ball confuses me when he smiles on the mound. So, I suffered a lot.”

I figure there are a lot of ways to go with that translation. But I can’t think of any of them that really salvage the idea Kim was trying to express.

For what it’s worth Youman’s response was more bemused than anything else and Kim did apologize. And I presume that the Hanwa Eagles’ media relations people have Kim Tae Kyun locked in a room somewhere right now giving him intensive lessons from the Crash Davis School of Baseball Player Cliches.

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.