* I’m on the fence about the “fire pit” at the Twins’ new ballpark, but the Brewers coming up with the idea to use their parking lot for drive-in movies is brilliant. The initial movie selections are good (Anchorman and Jaws the first night, The Sandlot and Major League the second night) and I can only imagine the number of bratwursts that will be consumed by all the tailgating veterans.
* Speaking of the Brewers, they aren’t sure what to make of
Manny Parra. He got off to a great start as a rookie last year, going
8-2 with a 3.65 ERA through mid-July, but since then the 26-year-old
southpaw is 5-13 with a 5.97 ERA in 129.2 innings. “I’m trying to
figure him out, a little bit,” manager Ken Macha said. Somewhere, Al Bethke is shaking his head.
* And speaking of movies, Brad Pitt has started pre-production work on the Moneyball film, which apparently involves wearing hats and boarding private jets.
* I was watching the Twins-Indians game last night when Asdrubal Cabrera went down in a heap
following what appeared to be a fairly low-impact collision with
Brendan Harris at second base. Despite how benign the play looked
Cabrera writhed in pain for several minutes before being helped off the
field with his left arm dangling at his side, and he’s been diagnosed with a separated shoulder.
* You’ll never believe this, but Milton Bradley is out of the lineup again with another “day-to-day” injury.
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.
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.