Joe West

MLB announces umpires through the Division Series

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Umpires: if you know their name they’ve probably messed up too much. Let’s see how many names you recognize for the Wild Card and Division Series rounds.

  • For tonight’s game 163 between the Rays and Rangers it will be Tim Welke as crew cheif, Jeff Kellogg behind the plate and Bruce Dreckman, Chris Guccione, Tom Hallion and Ron Kulpa around the bases and/or down the lines.
  • Our friend Joe West gets home plate and crew chief duties for the Reds-Pirates Wild Card game on Tuesday, with Dale Scott, Dan Iassogna, Rob Drake, Tim Timmons and Lance Barksdale on his crew. In the AL Wild Card game it will be Gerry Davis as chief and home plate ump with Ted Barrett, Mike Everitt, Greg Gibson, Phil Cuzzi and Brian Knight rounding things out.
  • Jerry Layne will head up the Division series in St. Louis between the Cards and the Pirates-Reds winner, with Wally Bell, Sam Holbrook, Jim Joyce, Paul Nauert and Tony Randazzo. The Dodgers-Braves Division Series will be policed by John Hirschbeck, Laz Diaz, Marvin Hudson, Bill Miller, Tim Welke and Hunter Wendelstedt.
  • In the AL Division series between the Red Sox and the Wild Card winner will be Dana DeMuth, Eric Cooper, Paul Emmel, Chris Guccione, Larry Vanover and Mike Winters. The Tigers-Athletics series gets Gary Darling, CB Bucknor, Mike DiMuro, Tom Hallion, Jim Reynolds and Mark Wegner.

Not sure who the A’s and Tigers angered to get Bucknor, but expect pitcher ejections the night he works the plate.

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)
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.