The Dodgers activated Manny Ramirez from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday. He is expected to be in the starting lineup against Jhoulys Chacin and the Rockies later tonight. Ramirez has been sidelined since April 23 due to a strained left calf.
Ramirez, who turns 38 in May, was batting .415/.500/.659 with two homers and 12 RBI over his first 41 at-bats before going on the DL. Take heed of small sample sizes, but Eric Stephen of True Blue L.A. finds that the Dodgers have scored 6.53 runs per game with Manny in the lineup this season, and 3.93 runs per game without him. And this is with his replacements (Xavier Paul, Reed Johnson and Garret Anderson) batting a combined .415/.500/.659.
Anytime you can bring a bat like Manny back to your lineup, it’s a very good thing, but the Dodgers biggest problem right now is their starting pitching. Entering play on Saturday, Dodgers starters have combined for a 4.86 ERA — 13th in the National League. They are second to last in the league with 76 walks over 151 1/3 innings. Manny can’t fix that.
Josh Hamilton is not and never was a key part of the 2017 Texas Rangers plans. He was in camp and under contract and had at least a chance to make the team, but the Rangers fate as a ballclub did not depend on him. It would merely be nice for them if he revealed that he had a bit left in the tank and if he could, like a lot of other superstars in baseball history, give them one last season of decent production in part time play as a matter of depth and flexibility.
As such, this development is more unfortunate for Josh Hamilton and those who root for him than it is for the Rangers as a club, but it is unfortunate all the same:
That’s the fourth surgery he’s had on that knee in less than two years and the 11th knee surgery he’s had overall in his baseball career. It’s sad to say but safe to say that Hamilton’s days in baseball are numbered if not over completely. At some point an athlete’s body can only take so much.
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.