Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig has been out since September 4 with a sprained left foot and he’s scheduled to have X-rays taken Thursday, with Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post Dispatch writing “that really isn’t good news in terms of Craig being able to play this last regular-season week or even early in the playoffs.”
Being without Craig in the postseason would be a big loss for the Cardinals, as he hit .315 with an .830 OPS in 134 games before the injury, including some incredible numbers with runners in scoring position, but they do have a very capable fill-in at first base in rookie Matt Adams.
Adams has hit .282 with a Craig-like .833 OPS overall this season, including .329 with seven homers and a 1.000 OPS in 19 games since being pressed into extended duty following Craig’s injury.
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.