Metsblog.com points out that the Rockland Boulders of the independent Can-Am League on Tuesday announced the signing of father-and-son pair Howard and Glen Johnson.
The duo will play alongside one another on Sept. 4-5 against the Newark Bears.
“This may be my last go ‘round so it’s a great opportunity to play in a professional game with my son,” said Howard Johnson. “How many fathers can do that?”
The 51-year-old Johnson retired in 1995 after playing 14 seasons in the majors and making two All-Star teams. A fantasy baseball stud as a third baseman and shortstop in the late-80s, he had three 30-homer and four 30-steal seasons for the Mets. His best year came in 1989, when he hit .287/.369/.559 with 36 homers, 101 RBI, 41 steals and an NL-leading 104 runs scored. He also led the NL in homers (38) and RBI (117) in 1991.
The younger Johnson was a 36th-round pick of the Mets out of high school in 2007, but he opted to go to college after the draft. This will be his professional debut, and considering that he hit .220 for Pace University in his final year in school, it’s probably nothing more than a cameo for him.
So, yeah, it’s a publicity stunt for Rockland. But what child of the 80’s can pass up a chance to write about Ho-Jo?
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.