Angel Pagan hit an inside-the-park homer in the fourth inning of last night’s Mets-Nats game, which you can see here. Then, in the fifth, he started off a triple play, which you can see here.
Before I say anything else, let me say this: great job by Pagan for (a) running like a mofo out of the box on the inside-the-parker; and (b) making a great catch on the triple play. What I’m about to say isn’t meant to take anything away from him.
But I’ll say it anyway: boo to Nyjer Morgan for misjudging the fly that turned into the home run. If he hadn’t and, if instead, he had played the carom, then Pagan would have had a double. I’ve written before that I don’t, like many people, find inside-the-park home runs to be the most exciting play in baseball because they are so often the product of mistakes by the outfielders and many times aren’t even close plays (give me a clean triple any day). This one was still exciting — there was a play at the plate at least — but if Nyjer doesn’t misplay that ball, there’s no homer.
Also, boo to second base umpire Bob Davidson for not making anything close to a definitive call on Pagan’s catch that kicked off the triple play, thereby confusing the base runners. Yes, it’s the runners’ responsibility to make double damn sure that the ball drops before advancing, but on plays that close the ump has to make a better call than that.
And Mets fans: please, hold your “stop hating on the Mets” rebop. I’m not hating on them. Like I said, great plays by Pagan. But that doesn’t mean that Morgan and Davidson didn’t screw up.
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.