Scott Kazmir reached the end of the line with the Angels on Wednesday. After giving up six runs in 1 2/3 innings for Triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday night, he was placed on release waivers by the club, which is prepared to eat the approx. $9.5 million he’s still owed.
After Kazmir struggled throughout spring training and then got lit up for five runs in 1 2/3 innings in his one regular-season start, the Angels stashed him on the DL in April, hoping he’d rediscover his form after a brief break. Kazmir, though, wasn’t able to recover, even after a month and a half rest from working in games. He had a 17.02 ERA in his five rehab starts for Salt Lake.
Kazmir ends his Angels career having gone 11-17 with a 5.31 ERA in 35 starts. Those results cost the Halos $22.5 million and the three players they sent to the Rays in trade in Aug. 2009: Sean Rodriguez, Alex Torres and Matt Sweeney.
Once Kazmir clears waivers, he should be pretty popular with teams looking to bolster their pitching depth. It wouldn’t be surprised if both the Red Sox and Yankees, who saw Kazmir at his best plenty of times when he pitched for the Rays, come calling. He’s a mess right now — his delivery needs an overhaul, not just a tweek or two — but he might not be an entirely lost cause.
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.