FOX’s Jon Paul Morosi passes along an anecdote about Dusty Baker’s final dark days as the Cubs’ manager that, I am quite certain, is unique in the history of Major League Baseball:
“At the very end, somebody took a dump right where I stood in the dugout every day,” Baker said Monday morning. “That was the low point. The grounds crew guy cleaned it up. He said, ‘Oh, I think it’s dog crap.’ I said, ‘No it ain’t. That’s human crap.’”
Dusty doesn’t know who did it. I find it hard to believe that a fan is gonna schlep a bag of crap to the ballpark. And even if the plan was, um, put together in a bathroom in Wrigley Field, there would be too many other fans who would see the drop. No: this was an inside job. A player or a coach did it in the wee small hours of the morning before Duty Baker made his way to the dugout.
But who did it? Looking at the roster of the 2006 Cubs suggests all manner of suspects. Michael Barrett wasn’t well-liked on that team. Todd Walker had his share of attitude issues during his career. Greg Maddux has a history of scatalogical pranksterism. Really, it could have been anyone! Well, maybe not Neifi Perez. That dude practically owed his career to Baker. He’d probably take a bullet for the guy.
The real question is whether anyone saved the evidence. Because while it’s likely not possible now, I’m sure someday technology will help us make a positive ID.
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.