Detroit Tigers v Atlanta Braves

Rangers still want a bat, Vladdy not yet in the mix

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Having struck out on Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez, the Rangers are still seeking a bat to add to their lineup mix. They don’t want to add a full-timer and push Mitch Moreland out of the lineup, but a complement to provide insurance in case Moreland struggles is a possibility.

Right now, the Rangers are looking at the following lineup:

SS Elvis Andrus
DH Michael Young
LF Josh Hamilton
3B Adrian Beltre
RF Nelson Cruz
2B Ian Kinsler
1B Mitch Moreland
C Yorvit Torrealba
CF Julio Borbon

David Murphy and Matt Treanor are guaranteed two spots on the bench. Another will go to a backup middle infielder, probably Andres Blanco. That leaves one opening.

Ideally, that opening would go to a right-handed hitter, assuming that the Rangers do want to stick with Moreland. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a first baseman, since Young could play there when Moreland sits against tough lefties or maybe all lefties. But it should be a righty, particularly since the team’s other strong bat off the bench is a lefty.

The obvious solution for the Rangers would seem to be Troy Glaus. The other available first basemen (Russell Branyan, Casey Kotchman, Nick Johnson, Carlos Delgado) are all lefties. Vladimir Guerrero wants and deserves to be a regular. Glaus probably would like that, too, but there don’t seem to be any possibilities for him out there right now.

If not Glaus, then Willy Aybar is the next best bet. He’s a switch-hitter, but he has a 785 career OPS against lefties, compared to a 712 mark against righties. He’s coming off a rough year and should be available cheap.

Jose Guillen, Lastings Milledge and Andy LaRoche are some of the other righty swingers still out there.

One last possibility if the Rangers really wanted to swing for the fences: Milton Bradley. The Mariners have to be especially eager to get rid of him after his arrest this week, and he did lead the AL in OPS while with the Rangers in 2008. I doubt the Rangers would take him back on now, but if could recapture a little of that magic from three years ago, he’d be a big asset.

Reid Brignac is trying to become a designated 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.