Well, maybe he’s human. An alternative explanation is that, a day after learning that he was being promoted to AAA, he decided to mail one in the same way you mailed in that last Communications 220 exam after you already earned enough credits to graduate and had already been accepted to law school.
Strasburg gave up three earned runs — four total — on six
hits and three walks over 4.2 innings yesterday. The bad guys: the Altoona Curve, who he so deftly handled in his minor league debut last month. Strasburg wasn’t hit particularly hard, with a couple of the runs following infield hits and bloop single kinds of things, but he struggled with the strike zone, which this game story suggests may have been a bit tight thanks to the home plate umpire.
But tough stuff. He’s going to get squeezed like crazy when he makes the bigs because, right or wrong, major league umpires make young pitchers earn the full extent of the strike zone through experience. Wait, that’s totally wrong and everyone knows it. Still happens though.
All of this makes Strasburg’s AAA debut more interesting, of course. Because now he must not only show that he can get more experienced hitters out, but he must show that he can shake off a bad 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.