Pedro still looking for work, Phillies may be interested

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Last month general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced that the Phillies had no interest in signing Pedro Martinez, but Todd Zolecki of MLB.com and Andy Martino of the Philadelphia Inquirer both report that the team will indeed watch the future Hall of Famer work out in the Dominican Republic this week.

Martino speculates that Amaro has changed his stance on Martinez after
failing to find a palatable trade solution for a veteran starter, while
Zolecki suggests that the Phillies are simply “covering their bases in
case Martinez has enough life left in his arm to help.”

Martinez has remained steadfast in his demand for a prorated $5
million contract, which while enough to scare teams off in April or May
would add up to a relatively modest $2.5 million investment at this
point in the season. In other words, showing any kind of decent stuff
in this week’s workout could lead to Martinez finally being signed.

However, his previous workout sessions apparently have not been
impressive, with various sources reporting that his fastball topped out
in the mid-80s. Martinez went 5-6 with a 5.61 ERA in 20 starts last
season while averaging 87.7 miles per hour with his fastball, but his
Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP) was 4.61 and shows that
he wasn’t as bad as the ugly ERA.

If healthy he’s certainly still capable of being a solid fourth or
fifth starter for a contending team, but the decision for the Phillies
revolves around whether dropping a few million bucks on a question mark
makes more sense than relying on young starters or giving up some
non-monetary assets in a trade for a less risky veteran.

Josh Hamilton has knee surgery, out 2-3 months

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 24:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers in the dugout before a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 24, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
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Josh Hamilton is not and never was a key part of the 2017 Texas Rangers plans. He was in camp and under contract and had at least a chance to make the team, but the Rangers fate as a ballclub did not depend on him. It would merely be nice for them if he revealed that he had a bit left in the tank and if he could, like a lot of other superstars in baseball history, give them one last season of decent production in part time play as a matter of depth and flexibility.

As such, this development is more unfortunate for Josh Hamilton and those who root for him than it is for the Rangers as a club, but it is unfortunate all the same:

That’s the fourth surgery he’s had on that knee in less than two years and the 11th knee surgery he’s had overall in his baseball career. It’s sad to say but safe to say that Hamilton’s days in baseball are numbered if not over completely. At some point an athlete’s body can only take so much.

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)
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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.