Potent quotables: Penny has words for Girardi

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“I don’t give two f—s what Joe
Girardi says. I’m coming inside. I don’t care. Anybody can say that. We
can say that about the time they hit our guys. I’m just trying to pitch
inside. Maybe he should worry about managing and not trying to be the
commissioner.”

– Brad Penny responds to Joe Girardi’s assertion that he intentionally hit Alex Rodriguez on Thursday.

“We always support everyone here and
always will. But, you know, we’re all just together trying to win every
day, trying to turn it around. And we’re going to continue to try until
we figure it out. We know the future is bright but we’re not waiting
for the future to get here. We’re going to do everything we can to
speed it up.”

– Nationals owner Stan Kasten addresses a report that Manny Acta could be fired as soon as Monday.

“Brandon was supposed to be taking on
that 3-0. That could have been the ballgame because we had him on the
ropes at that time. He said he didn’t see the take but in that
situation, you have to know you’re taking even if you don’t see the
take. That’s a big play in the ballgame.”

– Dusty Baker calls out Brandon Phillips
for swinging at a 3-0 pitch after Kyle Davies had already walked two
batters. He killed the rally with a flyout and the Reds lost to the
Royals 7-4.

“I wasn’t ready and I’m not going to come back to hurt the team. It is what it is. When it’s ready, it will be ready.”

– Jeremy Bonderman admits he came back too early
from right shoulder surgery. He allowed six runs over four innings in a
Tuesday start against the White Sox. He’s now a long-shot to contribute
this season.

“It’s just disappointing, more than anything. I haven’t been pitching well at all.”

– Manny Parra on being sent down to Triple-A Nashville
after being hammered for six runs over 1 2/3 innings against the White
Sox on Saturday. Parra is 3-8 with a 7.52 ERA in 13 starts this season.

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.