While in Washington to play the Nationals this weekend Albert Pujols and Tony La Russa will be guests at the “Restoring Honor” rally organized by FOX News host Glenn Beck and featuring former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Pujols is being honored at the event and La Russa will be on hand to introduce him to what’s expected to be a crowd of over 20,000 gathering at the Lincoln Memorial on the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech.
Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch writes that La Russa was only willing to attend and involve Pujols “after receiving assurances that the event is not a thinly disguised political rally.” Here’s more from the manager, who got into some hot water last month for publicly supporting the Arizona immigration law:
I made it clear when we were approached. I said, “If it’s political, I wouldn’t even approach Albert with it.” I don’t want to be there if it’s political. I made the point several times: “What is this about?” I don’t know who’s going to be there, who’s going to accept it. But the gist of the day is not political. I think it’s a really good concept, actually.
I’ll go out on a limb here and guess that a rally hosted by Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin at the base of the Lincoln Memorial will probably have just a tad of politics involved. Strauss notes that “some liberal critics have portrayed the three-hour event as a platform for the conservative Tea Party movement” and adds that “the rally is expected to include a faith-based message, something that squares with Pujols’ commitment to his faith as well as his Pujols Family Foundation.”
Josh Hamilton is not and never was a key part of the 2017 Texas Rangers plans. He was in camp and under contract and had at least a chance to make the team, but the Rangers fate as a ballclub did not depend on him. It would merely be nice for them if he revealed that he had a bit left in the tank and if he could, like a lot of other superstars in baseball history, give them one last season of decent production in part time play as a matter of depth and flexibility.
As such, this development is more unfortunate for Josh Hamilton and those who root for him than it is for the Rangers as a club, but it is unfortunate all the same:
That’s the fourth surgery he’s had on that knee in less than two years and the 11th knee surgery he’s had overall in his baseball career. It’s sad to say but safe to say that Hamilton’s days in baseball are numbered if not over completely. At some point an athlete’s body can only take so much.
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.