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A’s calling up pitching prospect Sonny Gray

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From Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle comes word that the A’s have decided to promote top pitching prospect Sonny Gray from Triple-A Sacramento to bolster their major league bullpen.

Gray, the 18th overall selection in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft, has posted a cool 2.81 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 107/34 K/BB ratio across 102 1/3 innings (16 starts) this season in the Pacific Coast League. He has not pitched out of the bullpen once in his three minor league seasons, but it shouldn’t be too difficult of a transition and the 23-year-old could eventually be asked to join the rotation in Oakland if something goes wrong with one of the current starting pitchers.

Gray ranked 65th on Baseball America‘s listing of the Top 100 prospects prior to the 2012 season. He did not make the cut this winter because of a trying 2012 campaign during which he moved from rookie ball all the way to Triple-A.

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.