With closer Bobby Jenks struggling Ozzie Guillen said before last night’s game that he’d go with matchups in the ninth inning, but Jenks ended up getting the save anyway after Guillen used southpaw Matt Thornton in the eighth inning versus left-handed hitters Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau.
Thornton may have gotten the save chance had Minnesota’s big lefty bats been up in the ninth inning instead, but clearly Jenks hasn’t totally lost his grip on the job. And clearly he thinks that’s the way it should be, because here’s what Jenks had to say about the whole situation after notching his sixth save of the season:
That’s the thing I don’t understand, all the stuff going on. I mean it’s one game. Everyone is hitting the panic button in f***ing April. Chill out. I don’t want to say everything I want to say, but it was one bad game. The game before that I gave up a solo home run, the wind is blowing out 20 mph, what are you going to do? I really don’t want to comment on it too much because I really don’t want to start anything, but it was one game. It was one f***ing game. Things happen.
I’m not normally someone who sticks up for White Sox, but Jenks is absolutely right. He’s no longer the elite, dominant closer he was a few years ago and may pitch himself out of the job at some point, but he certainly hasn’t done it yet with just one blown save in seven tries and 17 strikeouts in 13 innings.
I also liked this Jenks quote, about giving up a double to former teammate Jim Thome last night: “He keeps doing that, I know where he lives. I’ll just toilet paper his house.”
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.