Roy Oswalt has talked about an early retirement in the past, but yesterday agent Bob Garber told Todd Zolecki of MLB.com that the 34-year-old right-hander is no longer thinking about calling it quits:
There’s been a rebirth. There’s been talk in the past about retiring, but that’s not even in the cards at this point. It’s a different Roy. It’s a different feeling for him right now. He’s enjoying the game right now like he used to when he was younger. He’s definitely not retiring.
This has arguably been the worst season of Oswalt’s career, as he’s thrown just 133 innings after logging at least 180 every year since 2004 and has a 3.86 ERA that’s his second-highest. On the other hand, Zolecki notes that Oswalt “is feeling healthy after an ailing back sidelined him” and “has been rejuvenated pitching for the first-place Phillies.”
He’ll be Philadelphia’s fourth starter during the playoffs, which means his role may be minimal, and Zolecki expects the Phillies to decline their $16 million option on Oswalt for 2012. Since coming to the Phillies in the middle of last season Oswalt has thrown 216 innings with a 3.05 ERA and 162/53 K/BB ratio, so when the back isn’t barking he’s still a top-of-the-rotation starter.
Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Madson are also impending free agents, so Oswalt’s desire to remain in Philadelphia may be tested if he’s looking for a big payday.
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.