The latest update in the American League All-Star balloting is in and there are a couple of changes. Robinson Cano has passed Ian Kinsler at second base. And, in a development which is sure to cause some to clutch for their pearls and grope for their fainting couches, Nelson Cruz has passed David Ortiz at DH.
Note: anyone who portrays this as a shameful development without noting that Mr. Ortiz’s record is not exactly spotless when it comes to PEDs is disqualified from our game. If you are worried about being able to navigate that thicket you can do the simplest thing and simply not care one iota. Plus, it has more going for it than mere simplicity: it’s hypocrisy free!
Either way, both Ortiz and Cruz paid the price for their PED transgressions. In Ortiz’s case it was nothing because the survey testing in 2003 did not have punishment attached per the rules. In Cruz’s case it was 50 games, which he served. Both should be allowed to go on with this crap in their rear-view mirror.
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.