Bill Madden’s Daily News column about Bob Sheppard’s funeral mass is headlined “Yankees a no-show at Bob Sheppard’s funeral, an act George
Steinbrenner wouldn’t have stood for.” He doesn’t hit it quite as hard as that in the column, but he does make a couple of references to how it was a shame that no Yankees players showed up.
I suppose it’s somewhat curious, what with the Yankees having a day off yesterday and everything, but I’m having a hard time getting worked up about it. For one thing, Madden himself notes that, while there was certainly respect for Sheppard among just about everyone, Sheppard wasn’t at all close with players. He interacted with them on pronunciation matters and if they went to mass with him, but it’s not like there were personal relationships there.
And of course we have no idea what the family’s wishes were. Isn’t it entirely possible that they had requested that things be kept relatively tame? Brian Cashman and a small Yankees delegation was there, but by all accounts Sheppard had a full and fulfilling private life away from the Yankees, so maybe whoever planned the funeral wanted to make it a smaller affair and the word circulated the the Yankees delegation was sufficient? Would anyone want the paparazzi who follows A-Rod around to be standing outside of the church?
My take on it is that unless we get some upset quotes from someone in Sheppard’s family about it — which, if personal decorum is inherited, would never, ever happen — this is a non-issue.
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.