The Braves got on the board against Dodgers starter Zack Greinke thanks to their handy shortstop. Evan Gattis, the goat of last night’s game, reached on a single to left, then advanced to second on a ground out. With two outs, shortstop Andrelton Simmons laced a double to right field, sailing over Yasiel Puig’s head. Gattis scored easily, moving the Braves into a 1-1 tie with the Dodgers after two innings.
Simmons contributed yet again in the top of the third with a nifty 6-4-3 double play to end an impending Dodger threat. The speedy Carl Crawford had singled to lead off the inning and was attempting to reach second safely when A.J. Ellis hit a ground ball to Simmons. With very little time to spare, Simmons made a quick transfer to second baseman Elliott Johnson, who flipped the ball to first baseman Freddie Freeman to complete the double play. Via Chad Moriyama, you can see a .gif of the play by clicking here.
The game remains tied 1-1 with both starters settling down as we head into the middle innings.
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.