The Astros sign Ryan Rowland-Smith

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We interrupt the crazy Cliff Lee/Carl Crawford/Adrian Beltre chatter to tell you that the Astros have signed pitcher Ryan Rowland-Smith. That from Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. Yes, we realize that this isn’t an Earth-shattering signing, but it’s nice to have a transaction that doesn’t invoke the name of large, monied east coast teams.

Rowland-Smith had a couple of good years in Seattle, working out of the pen exclusively his first year, and then transitioning into a swingman (though usually a starter).  He hit a wall last year, however, culminating in a late July start in which he allowed 11 runs to the White Sox.  After a stint on the disabled list — which some of us thought was questionable — he returned for four more games in which he was at least serviceable.

If he can return to his pre-2010 form — he had a 4.57 ERA in 362 career innings — he’ll be a cheap and useful pickup for the Astros. If not, well, he’ll still be cheap.

Dodgers to retire Fernando Valenzuela’s No. 34 this summer

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Dodgers will retire the No. 34 jersey of pitcher Fernando Valenzuela during a three-day celebration this summer.

Valenzuela was part of two World Series champion teams, winning the 1981 Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards. He was a six-time All-Star during his 11 seasons in Los Angeles from 1980-90.

He will be honored from Aug. 11-13 when the Dodgers host Colorado.

Valenzuela will join Pee Wee Reese, Tommy Lasorda, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Jim Gilliam, Don Sutton, Walter Alston, Sandy Koufax, Roy Campanella, Jackie Robinson and Don Drysdale with retired numbers.

“To be a part of the group that includes so many legends is a great honor,” Valenzuela said. “But also for the fans, the support they’ve given me as a player and working for the Dodgers, this is also for them.”