UPDATE: According to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com, Choo will likely need surgery on the thumb and is expected to miss at least six weeks.
10:10 AM: Shin-Soo Choo’s nightmare season just got a little bit worse.
According to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Choo was diagnosed with a broken left thumb after being hit being hit by a pitch from Jonathan Sanchez in the fourth inning of last night’s game against the Giants.
Indians manager Manny Acta isn’t sure how long Choo will be sidelined, as he was still being evaluated at a local hospital following the game, but we probably won’t see him for a while.
“Losing Choo is a big blow for us,” said manager Manny Acta. “He means so much to us not only offensively, but defensively and running the bases. He’s a very important part of our lineup. Especially the way he was coming on with the bat the last couple of weeks.”
Choo is batting just .244/.333/.353 with five home runs, 28 RBI and a .687 OPS over 306 plate appearances this season. The 28-year-old admitted earlier this month that he is pressing at the plate following his DUI arrest in May.
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.