Trade talk: Roundup of Tuesday's rumors

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Let’s take a quick spin around the league, see what they were talking about regarding the march to Friday’s trade deadline.

*The Boston Red Sox reportedly made a big play for Roy Halladay. But then the Red Sox denied it.

Halladay, by the way, is scheduled to pitch in Seattle on Wednesday.

*There was some Cliff Lee news focused around a false report involving the Red Sox. As exciting as that was, an MLB report suggested the Indians were inclined to keep him.

Nonetheless, one report said the Dodgers, Red Sox, Phillies and Angels have all spoken to Cleveland recently.

*There was much attention on Jarrod Washburn, as scouts from the
Yankees, Phillies, Brewers and Rangers watched him pitch against the
Blue Jays on Tuesday night. Washburn got a no-decision while allowing one run in seven innings and lowering his ERA to 2.64.

As good as that sounds, he did get some help from his defense, including a homer-saving catch by rookie Michael Saunders.

And there is some speculation that some sort of package deal could be in the works, as Mariners prospect Jeff Clement was pulled from a AAA game in the third inning Tuesday night.

The New York Times, by the way, wonders if Washburn might be the best bargain on the block.

*The Giants, having dealt for Ryan Garko on Monday, were reportedly
close to acquiring Freddy Sanchez from the Pirates. But they first want
to make sure his knee will hold up.

*The Dodgers, looking for some bullpen help, are hot after Orioles closer George Sherrill.

*The Angels are still in the running for both Halladay and Lee, but may end up turning to lower-tier options.

*And there was some big injury news that could be big factors in how
the rest of the week plays out, with bad news on the Astros’ Roy Oswalt, the Brewers’ Jeff Suppan, and the Giants’ Randy Johnson.

*Quietly, the Red Sox and White Sox swapped a pair of Sox.

*Get all the latest rumors here.

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.