Dallas Green

Dallas Green speaks about the loss of his granddaughter

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As you certainly remember, Christina Taylor Green, the 9-year-old girl who was killed during the shooting rampage in Tucson last month, was the granddaughter of ex-MLB manager Dallas Green and the daughter of current Dodgers scout John Green. Yesterday, Dallas Green, who works as a consultant for the Phillies,  spoke to the media about his family’s loss.

I’m struck by Green’s bluntness. We’re so used to hearing cliches when someone dies, especially children. About God’s plan, and little angels looking down and all sorts of things that, while understandable for those grieving to cling to, have become somewhat empty and, in a strange way, desensitizing.  Green’s sense of loss and his concern for his son and his family is far more palpable than we’re used to hearing in these situations and thus more affecting:

“Baseball helps me.  You sink yourself into your work and you don’t see a little girl with a hole in her chest as much … This isn’t about me.  It’s about my son, John, and his family. They are hurting desperately. It’s a terrible thing on John, Roxanna and Little D. I can get through it, but they’re going to hurt like the devil for a long time … This is still the best country in the world to live in.  You would hope there would be some understanding that there are crazies in the world.”

There are crazies in the world.  And, as Springsteen sang, there’s a meanness. And more chaos than we dare admit. We try to convince ourselves that there is not. That there is an order to things and purpose.  Part of that unsavory business in which so many felt the need to cast the Tucson shooting into political terms is part of that. There must be a cause, we tell ourselves.  Our orderly universe cannot just unravel like that without a purpose and intention.  Someone — someone who isn’t mentally deranged like the shooter — is to blame.

And while often there are many thing that, on a very basic level contribute in some small way to such incidents — someone who missed a warning sign, some law, some song lyric, some video game, some novel or some inflammatory rhetoric — these things rarely if ever truly own or deserve anything approaching a substantial chunk of that blame.  It’s craziness, sickness, meanness and chaos that is the true culprit.  We don’t want to believe it because it doesn’t bring much comfort to admit it, but it’s true.

Keep a good thought in your heart today for the Green family.  And always make sure that the people you love know that you love them.  It’s the most effective bulwark against the chaos of our world.

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)
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.