Curtis Granderson gets to ride with the cool kids

Leave a comment

Remember when you were a freshman in high school and you bummed a ride off the cool, older kid who already had his license and a car? No? Well trust me, it’s a defining moment, one that can bring instant credibility to your high school existence. Unless of course, the driver is this guy.

Derek Jeter, obviously, is not that guy. On the contrary, he’s just about the coolest guy on the planet. So you can imagine the excitement Curtis Granderson felt riding around in the back of Jeter’s Mercedes on Monday as the players returned to Tampa after a game in Brandenton.

Alex Rodriguez rode shotgun, and somehow Randy Winn also managed to find a spot. I can only assume Winn was a stow-away, sneaking into the back seat while Jeter and A-Rod fought off the autograph hounds. Once they discovered him, it was too late.

Take it away, New York Times:

“At first glance, you sit there and go, ‘Man, you know, do I call home and tell my friends who I got a ride with?’ ” Granderson said.

In the end, he didn’t. Granderson was too busy trying to navigate. Apparently, the G.P.S. in Jeter’s Mercedes was showing a different route back to Tampa from the system in Granderson’s iPhone.

Granderson did have one freshman moment, however, when he asked Jeter what all the switches and buttons in the back seat were for. Jeter’s response? “I don’t know, I’m never back there.”

Uh oh, kid. Back to the bus you go.

Are you on Twitter? You can follow Bob here, and get all your HBT updates 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
4 Comments

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
2 Comments

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.