Good bet that something's wrong with Pedro

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The Mets have a pretty glaring hole in that number five starter slot. Pedro Martinez is still available for the taking. Mets GM Omar Minaya
loves Pedro. Mets fans love Pedro. The front office has a history
(usually) of being very cognizant of what the fans want. So that
equation should equal Pedro back in Queens, right?

That this hasn’t happened yet, or if it doesn’t happen after Tim Redding
struggles in Pittsburgh on Thursday, is probably a good indicator that
Pedro isn’t physically right. Because if he was, given Minaya’s
infatuation with the player and his tendency to jump at an available
commodity that he cherishes, Pedro would be in the Mets rotation, $5
million a year or otherwise.

Ollie Perez struggled mightily (maybe not a strong enough word)
before landing on the DL, and a setback in his rehab means he’s still
weeks away from returning. They gave Jon Niese a shot early in
May, but after a nice outing against the Pirates, he was ripped by the
Braves and sent back down. Redding pitched well in his first try in LA,
but has been vintage Redding over his past two starts (8.2 IP, 13 ER, 2
L) and more of the same should be expected. Plus there’s the curious
case of Livan Hernandez, who has shockingly been pretty damn
good in five of his last six (3.03 ERA, 4-2 team record) . The Mets
shouldn’t be banking on that to continue.

So why not Pedro? He couldn’t be worse that Ollie or Redding or
Niese, right? Teammates all love the guy so he wouldn’t be causing any
dreaded chemistry problems. That $5 million price tag isn’t $5 million
anymore now that we’re almost a third of the way home. Plenty of Mets
fans are begging to see him pitch again – including this one, who, for
mostly sentimental reasons, wishes Pedro could get a crack at a
postseason with the Mets, since his signing was a huge driving force
behind the Mets becoming relevant again.

The risk of signing him doesn’t appear to be that high, so we’ll
take a guess that it’s either the shoulder or the toe or the hammy or
something that is probably still jacked up (or if it isn’t now, is on
the verge of disintegrating). Or maybe Omar has a trade in the works
for more of a frontline starter (Peavy? Oswalt? Other?).

But if someone does sign him, hopefully it’s not the Phillies. Don’t wanna have to root against the guy.

Reid Brignac is trying to become a switch hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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Veteran utilityman Reid Brignac is in camp with the Astros on a minor league deal. The 31-year-old is close to being done as a major leaguer as he owns a career .219/.264/.309 triple-slash line across parts of nine seasons. In an effort to prolong his big league career, Brignac is now attempting to become a switch-hitter, MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart reports.

I’m going to try it out this year. It was something that I just thought long and hard about and I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to try and see how it goes.’ I used to switch-hit when I was younger off and on, nothing consistent. I could always handle the bat right-handed. I play golf right-handed, so I do a lot of things that way that feel natural.

I just want to get to the point where I’m trying to stay in games, not get pinch-hit for, not starting games because a lefty is starting. … That could help me stay in the games longer. I’m trying to add a new element. I play multiple positions and now if I can switch hit and be consistent at it, then that can only help me.

As Brignac mentions, he’s also verstile. He’s a shortstop by trade, but has also logged plenty of innings at second base and third base, and has occasionally played corner outfield.

There aren’t any examples — at least that I can think of — where players began switch-hitting late in their careers and actually succeeding in the major leagues. As the saying goes, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But here’s hoping Brignac bucks the trend.

Video: Andrelton Simmons makes a heads-up play to catch Carlos Asuaje off first base

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 03:  Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 3, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
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Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons fell off the map a bit last year due to a combination of the Angels’ mediocrity, Simmons’ lack of offense, and a month-plus of missed action due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.

Simmons is still as good and as smart as ever on defense. That was on full display Monday when the Angels hosted the Padres for an afternoon spring exhibition.

With a runner on first base and nobody out in the top of the second inning, Carlos Asuaje grounded a 2-0 J.C. Ramirez fastball to right field. The runner, Hunter Renfroe, advanced to third base. Meanwhile, Asuaje wandered a little too far off the first base bag. Simmons cut off the throw to first base, spun around and fired to Luis Valbuena at first base. Valbuena swiped the tag on Asuaje for the first out of the inning.