James Loney spoke with Tony Jackson of ESPN Los Angeles yesterday, issuing his first public comments since news broke that he was arrested last month on suspicion of driving under the influence after crashing into three cars.
Among other things, Loney claims that he was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol and has no memory of what happened after colliding with the first car and hitting his head. One other interesting note is that he didn’t inform the Dodgers of his arrest and that the team learned through a third party.
“Definitely, I should have made them aware,” Loney said. “I should have told them what happened. I should have done that. They have my back, and they know what type of person I am and what type of character I have, and they are here to help me. I am sorry if I offended anyone and grateful there were no serious injuries. I had no intention to hurt or offend anyone. There were no charges filed against me. I appreciate the police watching out for my welfare that night.”
The incident comes at an interesting time for Loney, who is arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter. The non-tender deadline is Monday, though Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday that he is still comfortable offering him a contract unless other damning information emerges.
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.