Some of you wasted your weekend running errands, mowing lawns, going to graduation parties and spending time with your families. Some of you were smart and read HardballTalk. For those in the former camp, here’s some of what you missed:
- Carlos Zambrano returned to the rotation. And lost;
- The Royals may have already locked up their first round pick . . . who they won’t pick until today, so that, like, makes them psychic or something;
- Randy Winn signed with the Cardinals. Between that and the Phillies getting Willy Taveras, the market on sawdust-filler outfield help is getting tight;
- Carlos Beltran is playing honest-to-goodness baseball;
- Clackin’ that bat, gone with the wind, Garrett Wittels has done it again;
- Oliver Perez on the DL just when the Mets need a roster spot? How . . . convenient;
- Jason Heyward strikes out five times. So does Mark Teixeira. Took Teixeira extra innings to do it, though, so Heyward totally wins;
- D-Train debuts in desert; does dandy;
- Mike Cameron is bringing sexy back. Or something.
- Jeffrey Hammonds and four other guys were drafted before Jeter. Which is weird, because Hammonds is 49 years-old, isn’t he? Or does it just seem like he is?
- Mike Stanton is coming up. Between him, Strasburg, Heyward and Ike Davis it’s been quite the year for young NL East talent. Meanwhile, Domonic Brown has nose pressed against a window somewhere, sadly watching all the other kids have fun.
- And of course, here’s your week ahead.
Happy Monday, everyone.
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.