UPDATE: Strasburg leaves start with forearm strain

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UPDATE, 10:24 PM:  Zuckerman reports that Strasburg has a strained flexor tendon in his right forearm.  That’s an early diagnosis, and he’s scheduled to undergo an MRI on Sunday in the nation’s capital.

UPDATE, 9:52 PM:
  Here’s an update: There is no update.  According to Mark Zuckerman of Nats Insider, the Nats are expected to address the injury after tonight’s game.

8:45 PM:  Normally we try to ease the panic and keep order around these parts, but this isn’t good.

Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg was lifted from his start against the Phillies on Saturday with an apparent elbow injury.  He delivered a 2-1 pitch to Philadelphia outfielder Domonic Brown and then looked to be in a good deal of pain while shaking the elbow on his throwing arm.  The Nats, of course, pulled him immediately.

Strasburg, 22, had thrown four-plus innings of one-run ball against a tough Phillies lineup.  He ended the night with six strikeouts against zero walks.

Whether the injury proves serious or not, we’re thinking that the Nationals will call it a season for their young ace.  He’s up to 68 major league innings and turned in 55.1 this year in the minors.  That’s a total of 123.1 frames.  He topped out at 109 innings last year for San Diego State.

Reid Brignac is trying to become a switch hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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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.

Video: Andrelton Simmons makes a heads-up play to catch Carlos Asuaje off first base

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 03:  Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 3, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
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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.