Dustin Pedroia wore a brace on his right knee for the first time last night and admitted after the game that his performance has been hurt by the injury:
My knee hurts, but it’ll be fine. I don’t weigh that much, so I don’t carry around a lot of weight. We’ll find a way to play through it. I’ll heal while I play. I’ve got to get out there and help us win. That’s my job.
Terry Francona told reporters that “his knee is bothering him probably more than he lets on” and the numbers certainly agree. Pedroia injured his knee during a play at the plate on May 14. At the time he was hitting .297 with a career-high .908 OPS, but in the 24 games since then he’s just 18-for-99 (.182) with zero homers and a .529 OPS.
It hasn’t become much an issue yet because the Red Sox are 16-8 in those 24 games, but winning in spite of one of the team’s best players isn’t the world’s most sustainable plan and they’ll obviously need him to start hitting again at some point. Hopefully the brace isn’t a sign of the injury being more significant than is being let on, because if that’s the case “I’ll heal while I play” may not doing anyone any good.
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.