UPDATE: Pedro Alvarez was indeed placed on the 15-day disabled list, reports Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
1:15 PM: According to Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pirates have dispatched minor league infielder Pedro Ciriaco to Pittsburgh for tonight’s game against the Tigers. The Pirates have yet to announce an official roster move, but Dunlap speculates that Ciriaco could take the place of Pedro Alvarez on the active roster.
Alvarez missed last night’s game with tightness in his right quadriceps, the very same injury that sidelined him for four games earlier this month.
While Alvarez showed plenty of promise last season by batting .256/.326/.451 with 16 homers and 64 RBI over his first 386 major league plate appearances, he’s been a major disappointment so far in 2011. The 24-year-old is currently batting just .202 with two homers, 10 RBI and 42 strikeouts over his first 125 at-bats while his seven errors are tied with Mark Reynolds for the most among major league third basemen.
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.