Cole Hamels looked great in his most recent minor league rehab start Thursday with High-A Clearwater and Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com that they are leaning toward bringing him back to start next Wednesday against the Dodgers in Los Angeles.
Hamels was forced to begin the season on the 15-day disabled list due to left biceps tendinitis, but he showed no ill effects during his rehab stint, putting up a 2.12 ERA and 12/1 K/BB ratio in 17 innings over three starts. He tossed seven innings of one-run ball on Thursday.
Hamels, 30, posted a 3.60 ERA and 202/50 K/BB ratio over 220 innings last season. With Hamels, Cliff Lee, and A.J. Burnett, Philadelphia has a potent trio at the top of their rotation.
UPDATE: It’s official. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that Hamels is confirmed to pitch next Wednesday.
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.