George Springer was held out of the Astros’ lineup on Thursday and Friday after tweaking his hip flexor when he was picked off at first base by Angels starter Jered Weaver in the top of the ninth inning Wednesday night in Anaheim. He returned to action on Saturday and appeared refreshed, homering twice and driving in five total runs as Houston routed the host Mariners 9-4 at Seattle’s Safeco Field.
Check out both blasts here, courtesy of MLB.com:
Springer got off to a sluggish start following his April 16 promotion to the major leagues, but the talented 24-year-old outfielder now has a .963 OPS with six home runs and 16 RBI in 19 games this month.
Springer, a first-round pick in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft, was a .319/.431/.630 hitter with 21 home runs in 75 games at Triple-A Oklahoma City. Baseball America rated him a Top 20 prospect this past winter.
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.