Last month Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com wrote a column suggesting the Cubs should fire Lou Piniella if they didn’t turn things around. This afternoon Rosenthal visited the Cubs’ clubhouse before their game against the Cardinals and … well, Piniella wasn’t exactly thrilled to see him.
Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune notes that “Piniella told Rosenthal they did not need to talk, and that was the end of it.” Here’s what Piniella had to say about the situation:
No, I haven’t seen my little buddy. Look, when a person doesn’t see your team play … I think he should at least see the team play before you start making comments. Outside of that, I really don’t care. He has no bearing at all on whether I have a job here or not.
Are we friends? I mean, am I looking forward to having dinner with him tonight? Absolutely not. Outside of that, are we friends? We both do things that are in the public eye. The amazing part about it is when you manage a baseball team, you taketh more than you giveth. That’s the way it is, and that’s the way it’s always been. And when the team is not playing well, for whatever reason, it’s the manager that takes the brunt of it, whether it’s justified or unjustifiied.
Rosenthal and Piniella worked together for FOX in 2006, which is where the whole “are we friends?” angle comes from.
I’m a Rosenthal fan because there’s no harder working, better connected reporter in baseball and I certainly have no problem with him opining about a team he isn’t around regularly–it is, after all, what I do here on a daily basis–but Piniella does deserve some credit for handling the situation reasonably well.
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.