Lonnie Smith

Be sure to forget to watch Jack Morris and John Smoltz talking Game Seven on MLB Network this Sunday

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I sure know that I’ll forget to watch it!

MLB Network’s MLB’s 20 Greatest Games continues on Sunday, May 8 at 7:00 p.m. ET when Jack Morris and John Smoltz join series hosts Bob Costas and Tom Verducci to discuss Game Seven of the 1991 World Series between the Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins, which is ranked second in the series. In a showdown featuring two teams that finished last in their divisions the previous year, Morris and Smoltz discuss the intensity of this series, the crucial missed opportunities by both teams to break a scoreless tie, and the famous pitchers’ duel that developed over ten innings.

A preview is here.

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but for complicated reasons involving a trip home from college to visit my girlfriend that weekend and a big hassle parking my car out at the remote undergraduate lot when I got back to town that weekend, I didn’t actually see this game. I listened to much of it on the radio though, including the ending. And it was heart-wrenching enough with no pictures. I subsequently saw a replay of it, and that was hard enough. To think that I’m going to sit through an extended autopsy of it, even 20 years later, is crazy.

But if you’re not a sick and damaged Braves fan like me, you probably do want to watch it. Given that it, you know, was an awesome game from an objective perspective. And it has, like, a ton of  historical significance.

Grr.

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.