The Yankees' injuries are getting worrisome

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They’re playing great baseball and everything, but the Yankees have to be worried about their health at some point, no?  Three of the core four, as all the cool kids are calling them, have gone down: Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada and now Andy Pettitte, all sidelined with injuries. Now those cool kids are calling them the “sore four.”  Wait, that’s not cool. That’s kind of lame.

But the point is taken: three-fourths of the crew that are currently gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated for their unprecedented resilience are ailing. They’re getting Rivera and maybe even Posada back in time for the Red
Sox series this weekend. Pettitte is more of a concern given that, as
Buster Olney wrote this morning
, “inflammation” is not really a
diagnosis. It’s a symptom, and it can mean any number of things, some of
which could be serious.

In light of all of this, the question has to be asked: isn’t it funny how all the “core four” fans like to pretend that Andy Pettitte never played for Houston?

Wait, that’s not the right question. The right question is: can the Yankees deal with these injuries and still keep up with a Rays team that seems to be unstoppable?

So far so good, as Francisco Cervelli has filled in nicely for Posada and Joba Chamberlain could close for a lot of teams. Likewise, Brett Gardner, Nick Swisher, Robbie Cano and Derek Jeter are all playing great baseball.  It’s a team with so many weapons that one or two can go down and things can be OK. But it’s certainly not ideal. Especially Pettitte’s injury, because there isn’t some easy answer for the rotation if he’s down for long.

Winning a championship is not simply a matter of writing checks. You need luck and above all else you need health.  The Yankees have had those two things in abundance for the past 15 years.  If it doesn’t hold up they can forget repeating.

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.