Gregory Polanco got off to a great start after the Pirates called him up in mid-June, but the 22-year-old top prospect has been slumping for the past two months and recently manager Clint Hurdle has decided to play Travis Snider over him in right field.
And now the Pirates have demoted Polanco back to Triple-A, where hit .347 in 62 games prior to being called up.
From a performance standpoint it’s tough to argue with the demotion, as Polanco has hit just .204 with three homers and a .564 OPS in his last 40 games. And if he wasn’t going to play regularly in the majors he might as well play regularly in the minors, but with the minor-league season winding down and September 1 roster expansion right around the corner it seems likely that Polanco will be back in Pittsburgh within a week or two anyway.
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.