UPDATE: Nava came up with the bases loaded again in the third inning, however he struck out. Too good to be true.
5:00 PM: If you aren’t watching this afternoon’s Phillies-Red Sox game, you just missed something pretty special. Daniel Nava, who was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday, connected for a grand slam off Joe Blanton in his first major league at-bat in the bottom of the second inning. In fact, it was on the very first pitch he saw.
Nava is the fourth player in major league history to hit a grand slam in his first at-bat in the big leagues. He’s the first to do it since Kevin Kouzmanoff on Sept. 2, 2006.
Nava became the 10th player in Red Sox history to hit a home run in his first major league
at-bat. The last (and only other) player to hit a grand slam in his first Red Sox at-bat was Rip Repulski on May 10, 1960.
Nava, 27, has a .342/.434/.545 batting line over four seasons in the minor leagues. If you’d like to learn more about the rookie outfielder’s incredible story, check out this piece by Tony Lee of NESN.com. He’s a real story to root for.
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.