Johan Santana made what’s expected to be his final extended spring training start for the Orioles today, throwing 4.1 innings and 76 pitches against inexperienced minor leaguers in Florida.
Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reports that Santana struck out eight and walked zero while allowing two runs on six hits, and his fastball was clocked at 86-88 miles per hour. The next step for Santana will presumably be a minor-league rehab assignment and a long-awaited return to formal game action.
Even while winning multiple Cy Young awards Santana was never a flamethrower, but at his peak he averaged 92-93 miles per hour. At the end of his time with the Mets he averaged 88-90 miles per hour, so at the very least Santana is relatively close to being back to where he was just before multiple shoulder surgeries.
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.