David Price

David Price strikes out franchise-high 14 batters for Rays

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David Price fanned 14 batters in seven innings and combined with two relievers on a shutout as the Rays beat the Blue Jays 12-0 on Sunday.

Price topped the Rays record of 13 strikeouts in a game, set by Scott Kazmir and later matched by James Shields.  The pitching staff as a whole fanned 18 batters today, also a franchise record.

The 14 strikeouts were tied for the third most by any pitcher this year.  Here’s that list:

1. Cliff Lee: 16 vs. Braves on May 6
2. Jered Weaver: 15 vs. Blue Jays on April 10
3. Roy Halladay: 14 vs. Padres on April 23
3. Tommy Hanson: 14 vs. Astros on June 12
3. Justin Verlander: 14 vs. Diamondbacks on June 25
3. CC Sabathia: 14 vs. Mariners on July 26
3. Roy Halladay: 14 vs. Diamondbacks on Aug. 16
3. David Price: 14 vs. Blue Jays on Aug. 28

Today’s game was also big for Desmond Jennings, who homered in his first two at-bats on his way to a 4-for-5 day.  He has eight homers and 14 steals in just 34 games since being called up.  To put that in perspective, he’d be on pace for 35 homers and 62 steals in 150 games.

The Blue Jays, meanwhile, were complete humiliated, as Brandon Morrow gave up three homers for the second time this season.  Mike McCoy was the only player in their lineup not to strike out.  Kelly Johnson whiffed four times, and Jose Bautista and Jose Molina fanned three times apiece.

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.