Veteran right-hander Kevin Millwood served as the Orioles’ Opening Day starter last season. Things didn’t exactly go smoothly for him in his one year with Baltimore, but it’s crazy to think of where he was then and where he is now.
Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun caught up with the free agent on Wednesday. He’s working out in Southern California at super agent Scott Boras’ training facility, waiting for an opportunity that he is comfortable with to suddenly come along.
Millwood rejected a minor league contract offer from the Yankees earlier this month because they weren’t willing to guarantee him a big league roster spot. It seemed a bit odd at the time that the 36-year-old would pass up a chance to potentially play in pinstripes, but he may be in luck now.
The Cardinals lost ace right-hander Adam Wainwright to a significant elbow injury this week. Wainwright is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery and the Cards will be on the hunt for a replacement.
Millwood posted a poor 5.16 ERA across 31 starts last year for the O’s, but he is about as durable as it gets and could probably eat some innings in St. Louis under the guidance of reclamation expert Dave Duncan.
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.