* Ivan Rodriguez is “on a mission” to get 3,000 hits,
but the odds are against him. He’s hitting a career-low .249 and still
needs 342 hits, so given his production over the past three seasons
Rodriguez likely needs to play in at least another 350-375 games even
if he avoids any further decline.
In other words, he’ll likely have to keep playing through the age of
40 while somehow convincing teams to give him starting jobs for 2010,
2011, and 2012. All of which is why there are zero catchers in the
3,000-hit club and Rodriguez is already the position’s all-time leader with “only” 2,658.
* Ozzie Guillen explained yesterday
that, unlike Lou Piniella, he’s never tried marijuana. “I never did
because I’m so crazy [that if] I might do that, I might be in jail
already,” Guillen said. “A lot of people think I’m on the stuff.”
* Bronson Arroyo is considering offseason wrist surgery
in order “to resume his recreational passion of playing the guitar.”
Meanwhile, there’s speculation that Eddie Van Halen may go under the
knife to improve his curveball.
* With impending free agent Adrian Beltre set to undergo shoulder
surgery that could knock him out for the season, Dave Cameron of U.S.S.
Mariner looks back at his ultimately underappreciated time in Seattle.
* Individual win-loss records are often so misleading that they become
meaningless, but Shairon Martis is 5-3 this season while the rest of
the Nationals are 17-48. So naturally he was dumped from the rotation and sent back to the minors yesterday.
* When on-field celebrations go wrong.
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.