Another day, another awful outfield D for Twins

Leave a comment

Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports
that Denard Span will not join the Twins during their three-game series
at Wrigley Field that begins this afternoon because the team has been
unable to uncover the source of his dizziness:

Team doctors
have him on medication for an inner ear infection and don’t want him to
travel. The first time Span’s dizziness came about he started on
medication for an inner ear infection, but [manager Ron] Gardenhire
said the meds made Span feel sick and so he stopped using them. Span
also missed an appointment a couple of weeks ago with a thyroid
specialist … Span overslept and missed that appointment. He’s been
rescheduled with the specialist for Tuesday, Gardenhire said.

Span
has been hugely valuable to the Twins since establishing himself as
their leadoff man in the middle of last season, hitting .293/.384/.414
with 30 steals, 78 walks, and 105 runs in 150 games. And not only does
the lineup suffer without his bat, Ron Gardenhire’s frustrating refusal
to give Carlos Gomez regular playing time leaves the Twins with a
horrendous defensive outfield for the second straight game.

Gomez
is one of baseball’s elite defensive center fielders, but is apparently
so buried in the doghouse that Gardenhire would rather trot out sub par
right fielder Michael Cuddyer in center field flanked by awful corner
outfielders Delmon Young and Jason Kubel. The combination is among the
worst defensive outfields in a long time and, while it didn’t hurt the
Twins yesterday, will eventually cost them a significant number of runs.

Gomez is an incredibly raw 23-year-old with a great glove and a terrible bat, so it seems obvious that he needs to be playing regularly
whether at Triple-A or in Minnesota. Instead, Gardenhire has started
him in just 35 of 63 games and would rather go with a trio of
below-average corner guys in the outfield than even let Gomez sub for
Span. Oh, and here’s the kicker: Gomez has a .573 OPS compared to .574
from Young.

Reid Brignac is trying to become a designated 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
1 Comment

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
2 Comments

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.