Back in April the Red Sox signed 22-year-old Cuban catcher Adalberto Ibarra for $4.3 million, but that bonus was lessened to $800,000 after he failed a physical exam due to a shoulder injury.
And now it turns out he needed shoulder surgery.
Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports that Ibarra underwent surgery yesterday to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder and will be out of action for at least 4-5 months.
Red Sox farm director Mike Hazen told Speier that Ibarra initially tried to rehab the injury, but “wasn’t able to get over the hump throwing-wise” and the team decided he was better off going under the knife now rather than risk missing all of 2011.
Ibarra hit just .228 with zero homers in 19 games between rookie-ball and Single-A in his pro debut, but he did post a .382 on-base percentage thanks to 14 walks and obviously it’s tough to judge his performance too harshly given what he now know about his shoulder. Assuming he’s healthy in April or May, he figures to spend most of next season at Single-A.
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.