Rays right-handed starter Jeremy Hellickson has been out of commission since having arthroscopic surgery on his pitching elbow in February. But if all goes smoothly from here, he could be an option for the Tampa Bay rotation by the end of this month.
Hellickson told beat writer Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune on Wednesday afternoon that he is scheduled to begin a minor league rehab assignment on Saturday with the High-A Charlotte Stone Crabs. Hellickson threw 50 pitches over three-plus innings Monday in his final simulated game, so he should be able to make it through about four frames in his rehab debut.
The 27-year-old owns a 3.70 ERA in 576 1/3 career innings at the major league level.
Rays pitchers have a combined 4.13 ERA on the season, which ranks 22nd in the bigs.
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.