Things could be going better for new Mariners outfielder Milton Bradley, who was ejected for a second time in three days Friday night after exchanging words with home plate umpire Jon Merry following a questionable called third strike.
Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu immediately came to the defense of his outfielder, and seems to think umpires are targeting Bradley specifically. Here’s what he told the Seattle Times’ Geoff Baker after Friday’s 2-6 Cactus League loss to the Reds:
“To me, it’s almost like a witch hunt,” said Wak. “I mean, it’s almost embarrassing to me when egos get involved to the point where they don’t
even give a guy a chance. … Again, I think it’s pretty blatant that some guys have it out for him.”
The conspiracy talk may be overdoing it, but it’s pretty evident that Bradley’s reputation is going to leave him with little leeway in arguments no matter the jersey he is wearing. He needs to be careful this season, because we’re sure Wakamatsu and the rest of the Mariners’ management team will quickly tire of defending his actions. Bradley, 31, batted .257/.378/.397 last season for the Cubs. He’s just one year removed from a career-best .321/.436/.563 batting line.
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.