Adam LaRoche was diagnosed with a partially torn labrum back in spring training, but it turns out the damage is now much more extensive.
Bill Ladson of MLB.com reports that LaRoche has a large tear in his labrum and a small tear in his rotator cuff. The plan is for him to rest for 2-3 weeks before being reevaluated. He doesn’t want to waste much time if he’s not making progress, so a decision about surgery could be made rather quickly.
“I love playing and I want to be out there with the guys, but I’m not selfish enough to stick it out the whole year and potentially miss next year,” LaRoche said. “We are going to give [the rehab] a shot.
“Hopefully a miracle happens so we can get it playable. If not, I’m not going to milk it here and hope for the best. If this doesn’t work, I’m pretty sure I’ll make the decision to get it fixed.”
The Nationals signed LaRoche over the winter to a two-year, $16 million contract with a $10 million mutual option for 2013. The 31-year-old first baseman is batting .172/.288/.258 with three home runs and 15 RBI over his first 177 at-bats this season. Entering Tuesday’s action, only Jonny Gomes had a lower batting average (.171) among qualified batters.
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.