Interesting news out of Dodgers camp, as 17-year-old Julio Urias is starting this afternoon’s Cactus League game against the Padres. Just to put things into perspective, he was born in August of 1996, less than two months after Tommy Lasorda managed his final game in Dodger Blue. Feeling old yet?
Urias, a native of Mexico, has quickly emerged as one of the team’s top pitching prospects. Checking in at 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds, the southpaw posted a 2.48 ERA and 67/16 K/BB ratio over 54 1/3 innings with Class A Great Lakes last year during his first season of pro ball. Baseball America recently ranked him as the No. 51 prospect in the game.
The Padres are playing plenty of regulars today, including Will Venable, Chris Denorfia, Yonder Alonso, and Seth Smith, so this should be a good test for the young phenom. File this name away.
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.