I miss steroids. I also
miss amphetamines. Greenies. Speed. Uppers. Because you know what I really miss? I miss
upper-deck home runs. I miss lower-deck home runs. Look, at this
point I would settle for a two-hopper to the wall. Give me some
hits. Some runs. Let’s take baseball back a few years, to a time
when no-hitters were special and when All-Star Games didn’t knock
me out like two Ambiens and a sap to the skull.
— Gregg Doyel of CBS Sports.com, lamenting the lack of offense this season.
Of course almost exactly one year ago Doyel was writing about how steroids have “chipped away at the sports’ soul” over the course of one of the more ridiculously faux-outraged column I’ve seen since I started blogging about baseball. Seriously: read last year’s piece and then read today’s and tell me that the guy has ever had a coherent thought in his life.
Not that coherence is one of Doyel’s primary aims. His m.o. is to write ridiculous columns in an attempt to create some crazy, on-the-edge bad boy persona. Sometimes that requires thinking steroids are the worst thing ever. Sometimes it requires pretending they don’t matter a bit. It’s all about being edgy with him.
Personally, I prefer to read someone who actually has a serious point once in a while.
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.