Ozzie Guillen, on Ron Washington testing positive for cocaine:
One thing about it, it ain’t going to happen to me, I guarantee you that. I grew up in some bad stuff, I know how that stuff is so bad. I support him. He made a mistake. I’m not saying he did the right thing, but in the meanwhile, we can’t turn our back against him. They know Major League Baseball isn’t playing around. They’re serious about it. As long as they don’t check for Vodka and Corona I’ll be fine.
In addition to being amusing that quote also brings up an interesting point. Washington tested positive for cocaine after what he claims was his first use in 57 years, and now has to go through counseling, treatment, and thrice-weekly drug tests. However, a manager is free to, as Ozzie put it, drink as much Vodka and Corona as they want and unless they have an alcohol-related incident no one knows or, punishment-wise, cares.
One thing is illegal and the other isn’t, which is obviously a very important distinction, but I’d certainly rather have my manager use cocaine once every 57 years rather than drink heavily on a regular basis. Of course, if you don’t buy that Washington tried cocaine for the first and only time in his entire life at age 57 … well, then it’s probably a moot point.
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.