Rookie of the Year candidate Nolan Reimold was shut down by the Orioles on Friday, with the simultaneous announcement that he’d undergo surgery for an Achilles’ tendon injury next Wednesday. He’s expected to need 3-4 months to recover, giving him plenty of time to get ready for spring training.
Reimold was the most productive hitter in the AL rookie class after an Adam Jones injury brought him to the majors in mid-May. It originally figured to be a short-term assignment, but he took over as the everyday left fielder and hit .279/.365/.466 with 15 homers in 358 at-bats. He also swiped eight bases in 10 attempts.
Realistically, Reimold needed a big final three weeks if he had any shot of winning any hardware. Elvis Andrus has probably been at least as valuable as Reimold once defense is factored in. Jeff Niemann has a 12-6 record and a 3.80 ERA as the AL‘s top rookie starter. Also, Oakland‘s Andrew Bailey has been one of the circuit’s very best relievers and deserves strong consideration.
Reimold, though, accomplished exactly what he needed to this year. He entered spring training with no chance at all of making the Orioles, yet now he’ll enter 2010 guaranteed of being the team’s primary left fielder.
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.