Reyes cap

So were the Mets threatened with fines over the first responder hats or not?

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There’s not much left to say about MLB’s strange and regrettable decision to prevent the Mets from wearing FDNY and NYPD hats on Sunday night. It’s over and likely will be until next 9/11, depending on what the marketers and money men decide.

But there is an open question, highlighted in the New York Daily News this morning:  Did Major League Baseball threaten the Mets with heavy fines if they wore the hats?

I believe that all the fines were going to be just crazy amounts,” Thole said. “It was coming down from the top as if the fine to the ballclub was going to be significant, and that was something (where) nobody wanted to overstep the bounds there.”

Joe Torre, MLB’s executive vice president for baseball operations, said the decision to prohibit the Mets from donning the hats was based on wanting all 32 teams dressed uniformly Sunday and that no one had been threatened with fines. “I heard in several places that it was a ‘mandate’ we ‘ordered,'” Torre told SiriusXM Radio. “Nothing was ordered.”

Those two statements really don’t’ mesh.

Yesterday, on his Twitter feed, R.A. Dickey said that someone from baseball came through the dugout and actually confiscated all of the first responder caps so no player could wear them.  Unless it was Bud Selig himself with a scowl on his face collecting them, what would compel the players to actually give them up? Seems like a team edict — inspired by a threat — could do the trick. Or a threat that came directly to the players would.

Yes, it’s possible that the players all just company men who didn’t really question it when someone said “you gotta give up the caps,” but I’m having a hard time seeing that.  There had to be something else going on here, didn’t there?

UPDATE:  There’s more in the New York Post.  Seems that the Mets and the league were going back and forth over it until the 11th hour and, ultimately, the Mets decided to back down because they’re in deep debt to Major League Baseball over all of their financial problems and didn’t want to rock the boat.  And the fact that it came out that MLB was behind the ban “deeply embarrassed Bud Selig.”

Oh, so sorry, Bud. It’s a shame that you ended up being embarrassed over your embarrassing acts.

Reid Brignac is trying to become a designated 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.