Former Phillies infielder and manager Larry Bowa was at Citizens Bank Park for a visit yesterday. CSNPhilly’s Jim Salisbury notes that there is a chance he could be back on a more permanent basis:
Bowa was a star player, a World Series-winning player, a coach and manager with the club. After all these years, he remains a Phillie at heart. And he has a close relationship with Sandberg, having mentored him when they were teammates in the Chicago Cubs’ infield. Could Bowa, still spry with his 68th birthday approaching in December, end up on Sandberg’s staff?
Nothing is guaranteed. But it’s possible. It has been talked about in the organization.
Bowa’s reputation is as a tough guy who pounds fundamentals and angers veterans. This was pretty bad when he was at the helm of a veteran-laden Phillies team in the early-to-mid 2000s. Guys like Jimmy Rollins, Bobby Abreu, Mike Lieberthal, Jim Thome and Pat Burrell were not exactly enamored with Bowa’s firm hand.
But on a Philly team in transition? With Bow not in command but, rather, as a lieutenant? If Ryne Sandberg needs a bad cop, there are many worse choices.
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.