And That Happened: Monday's Scores and Highlights

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Ubaldo Jiminez windup.jpgRockies
5, Padres 2
: Ubaldo Jimenez? Yeah, Ubaldo Jimenez: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER,
13K. Your move, Messers Lincecum and Halladay.

Blue
Jays 5, Indians 1
: Brett Cecil took a perfect game into the seventh
and ended up giving up only one hit while striking out ten. In other
news, whenever I read the name “Brett Cecil” my brain processes it as
“Brett Ashley” and I begin to wonder whether the Blue Jays’ starter’s
life is aimless and unsatisfying. Whether he too will even find
happiness as he searches in vain for the shattered values he held before
the war.

Rangers 4, Athletics 2: There’s the Rich Harden we were looking for (7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 9K). Ron Washington gets ejected for the second time since Friday in a game his team wins. Maybe he’s on to something!

Red Sox 17, Angels 8: Mike Lowell went 4 for 4 with four RBIs and three doubles, J. D. Drew had four
hits and drove in three runs and Kevin Youkilis, Bill Hall, Adrian Beltre and Dustin Pedroia all went long. In light of how given to hyperbole the Boston media is, I’m sure we can look forward to many a story this morning about how the Sox will break the single season runs record and and accompanying features in the travel section promoting World Series getaway packages.

Cardinals 6, Phillies 3:  A three-run double for David Freese as last week’s player of the week keeps up his torrid pace. Jaime Garcia gave up three hits and struck out six. If it wasn’t for a fellow named Heyward, Freese and Garcia would be having quite the teammate’s battle over NL Rookie of the year, huh? Joe Blanton returned for Philly and he was a bit better than his line indicated — 6.2 IP, 10 H, 4 ER — but it just wasn’t enough. But, hey, this was fun.

Yankees 4, Orioles 1:  See Boston? That’s how you beat Baltimore. All you need is a three-run homer from Randy Winn and eight strong innings from CC Sabathia. You might want to hold the Jorge Posada calf injury, though. That’s purely optional.

Twins 10, Tigers 4: Of course the Twins had to do this on the same day I provocatively put them below the Tigers in the Power Rankings. Wilson Ramos follows up his four-hit major league debut with a 3 for 4 night. I hereby predict that he will play in 2128 more games before being rested and that Joe Mauer will be relegated to historical footnote.  OK, not really. I’m just still coming down from my ballgame buzz.

White Sox 5, Royals 1: The White Sox breathe a sigh of relief as Jake Peavy throws seven shutout innings while striking out nine. With this tuneup out of the way, I’m sure they’ll feel much more confident about him facing major leaguers the next time out.

Reds 3, Mets 2: An 11th inning pinch-hit walkoff job for Lance Nix overshadows a decent-for-him performance from Oliver Perez. Too many baserunners — Perez allowed six hits and walked four — but he did only give up two runs and that’s some kind of progress. Or luck, but let’s not dwell on the negative, shall we?

Diamondbacks 9, Astros 1: That’s seven straight losses for the Astros, as they continue to travel around the league, making teams who have been struggling feel good about themselves. Indeed, in just the past week they’ve lifted the spirits of the Reds, the Braves and now the Dbacks. Good for you, Houston. You’re doing God’s work.

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
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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
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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.