You couldn’t have scripted it any better. There was our hero, Derek Jeter, with a chance to give the Yankees a walkoff win on the very same night that the team honored George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard. It would only be fitting, right?
Apparently Dan Wheeler is more of an improv man, because he proceeded to strike out Jeter swinging. This brought Nick Swisher to the plate with two on and two out. Swisher, who already tied the game with a solo home run off Joaquin Benoit in the bottom of the eighth inning, ripped a single to right field enabling Granderson to scamper home just ahead of the throw by Gabe Kapler, giving the Yankees a dramatic 5-4 victory.
Swisher told Brian Costello of the New York Post that the Boss would have been proud.
“I think pretty much the agenda today was ‘Win,’ ” Swisher said. “That’s
what Mr. Steinbrenner wanted us to do. That’s what, from all the things
I’ve talked to [Jeter], Posada and those guys, that’s all he ever
wanted to do. On a day like this when we celebrate his life, gotta take
him out on a ‘W.’ “
By the way, I was having a little fun with the whole Jeter angle, but I’m pretty sure that John Harper of the New York Daily News isn’t. I’m sad for him.
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.