New York Yankees pitcher Soriano flips a ball during a workout at the team's spring training camp

Rafael Soriano’s media snub is a legitimate problem

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UPDATE: Our long national nightmare is over: Soriano has apologized.

9:34 AM: There is a lot of back and forth on the Internets this morning about Rafael Soriano’s decision to dress quickly and leave the clubhouse before the reporters could get to him after last night’s debacle. Mark Feinsand of the Daily News, Joel Sherman of the Post and many others have gone after Soriano for the snub.  Brien Jackson over at IIATMS and most of the commenters over at BTF think this is much ado about nothing. The media making itself the story, the tempest-in-a-teapot nature of the New York press or what have you.

Nine times out of ten I side with the guys at IIATMS and my friends at BTF because, you know, they’re almost always right. But this time I have to differ. I think Soriano’s bail-job is a legitimate issue, not a media-created one.

There was a situation with the Mets a few years ago in which Billy Wagner spoke out about how certain players wouldn’t face the media after a bad game and how it left others to do the talking. He wasn’t mad because the snub of the media created a silly controversy. He was legitimately mad at having the snub for its own sake.

Yes, it’s the Mets and there is always rancor there, but players legitimately dislike it when the people who the reporters really will want to talk to — especially goats of the game — pull a disappearing act. Track down some of the game stories from last night’s Yankees-Twins game. There were several “I guess” or “you’ll have to ask him” kinds of things said when Yankees players talked about Soriano and the eighth inning disaster. I could be imagining it, but I sense some low-level aggravation there. Aggravation that players don’t need when they’re already upset about the loss and their own failures in the game.

The Yankees have made a point to give their players media training. A big part of this is facing the music after a bad game. When Soriano doesn’t do that he’s both ticking off his teammates and not going along with the team’s program. That’s a problem.  Maybe not as big a problem as it will get blown up into today, but it’s real.

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.