According to his bio, the Post-Gazette’s Dejan Kovacevic has been watching the Pirates since 1972. He’s been writing about sports since 1990 and covering the Pirates since 2005. He’s seen highs, and he’s seen a ton of lows (some of which were the result of highs). In light of that, when he says something like this, you have to take heed:
These Pirates are on a course to prove conclusively that they, and
not some predecessors, are the worst team in the franchise’s 124 years.
His reasoning is sound. While the Pirates’ current 109-loss pace doesn’t put them in record-setting or even franchise worst territory, Kovacevic correctly notes that due to increased player movement and a greater number of teams in each league you just don’t see as many utterly putrid clubs as you used to see back in the day. Sure, I’d consider making a case for that 1890 Alleghenys squad who gave up 1235 runs in a 136-game schedule, but there were extenuating circumstances there, with most of the players jumping ship to the Players League in mid season. But yeah, I get where Dejan is coming from.
His article made me go look back at the Pirates’ history, and maybe the most shocking thing about this is that the 2010 Pirates are going to be only the second team in Pittsburgh’s 18-year run of futility that will lose 100 games. I probably would have taken the over on three or four to be honest.
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.