Carl Crawford is set to begin a minor league rehab assignment Sunday with High-A Rancho Cucamonga, reports Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles.
Crawford has been sidelined since June 1 with a strained left hamstring. The 31-year-old is slated to play two games as designated hitter and two in the outfield, so there’s a chance he could rejoin the Dodgers as soon as next Thursday if all goes well.
With Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, and Andre Ethier already in the outfield, something will have to give once Crawford is back to full health. Puig isn’t going anywhere at this point, so many believe Ethier will be the odd man out.
Crawford is batting .301/.358/.470 with 18 extra-base hits (five home runs), 13 RBI, and nine stolen bases in 51 games this season.
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.