K-Rod once beat his girlfriend so badly she had to be hospitalized, prosecutor says

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Francisco Rodriguez was arraigned on the text-message/protection order violation yesterday. During the hearing the district attorney painted a dark picture of the Mets closer:

Hothead fireballer K-Rod once beat his girlfriend so badly she had to be hospitalized, a Queens prosecutor said Wednesday.

The chilling assault was revealed in court as Assistant District Attorney Scott Kessler painted Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez as a manipulative bully who flouts the law.

“He’s not naive and loving,” Kessler told Queens Justice Ira Margulis. “He’s merely manipulating and controlling.”

The alleged assault that led to his girlfriend’s hospitalization took place in Venezuela, prosecutors say. K-Rod’s attorney denied it. The Mets say no records of it came up when they did a background check before signing him.

I have no idea what the truth is here. Based on both experience and stuff I’ve read, there’s reason to doubt the rigor and/or veracity of Met background checks, Venezuelan court records and the kinds of statements made by prosecutors during criminal arraignments.*  All three have been known to understate or overstate the truth of the matter.

But however this breaks, it’s ugly and sad and, oh how I wish this was merely a case about a knucklehead relief pitcher getting into a comical slap fight with an old guy who insulted his mama. It’s much more than that now.

*To be clear: I have no basis at hand to doubt what the prosecutor said in this particular instance. In the past, however, I have had clients called the most heinous things by prosecutors during preliminary hearings, where it is the prosecutor’s job to cast the accused in the worst light the known evidence will allow in an effort to get a high bail and stringent pretrial conditions placed on the defendant.  

Josh Hamilton has knee surgery, out 2-3 months

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 24:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers in the dugout before a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 24, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
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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.

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)
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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.