One of the spring’s great dramas has finally reached its resolution, reports Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun. Drumroll, everyone:
“Jason Frasor was my closer last year and he hasn’t done anything to
lose the job,” manager Cito Gaston said Friday afternoon.
So, that’s that. Frasor was duking it out with Scott Downs and Kevin Gregg for the job this spring. The 32-year-old Frasor was 11-for-14 in save opportunities last season and notched 17 saves for the Blue Jays way back in 2004. Be sure to grab him in your fantasy leagues, people.
Interestingly, Elliott notes that Downs and Gregg are both still candidates to be traded. Although Gregg was signed to a one-year, $2.75 million contract in February, he can still be traded if he gives his permission. The Twins, who are currently seeking a replacement for Joe Nathan, had a scout in attendance during Friday’s game, according to Elliott.
With that out of the way, here’s my favorite tidbit from Elliott’s piece. Frasor said that he has a large container filled with signed baseballs over the years, ranging from Dave Stieb to Nolan Ryan. But he has a rather strict criteria for who gets to stay in the container.
“Anyone accused of cheating like Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte I’ve
taken out of the container,” Frasor said. “I gave them to my dog, Kosmo,
to chew on.”
And with that, we have an early favorite for “Quote of the Day.”
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.