In honor of the beginning of spring training, Realtor.com has assembled a page of listings of homes of several former and current ballplayers. The players: Adrian Beltre, Pat Burrell, Matt Cain, Barry Larkin, Derek Lowe, Jack McDowell, Jamie Moyer, John Smoltz — whose home we’ve featured previously — and Jonathan Papelbon. There are links to several more pictures of each house at the bottom of the page.
- Moyer’s is a tudor-style mansion. It is not, as is commonly believed, an actual tudor-era home, built under his personal supervision in the year 1587, though it could be. Because Jamie Moyer is old. Get it? He’s old! Hahaha! Ah, ahem. Sorry.
- Pat Burrell’s house in Scottsdale is exactly as I would have expected for a guy with his swingin’ single reputation. I believe he purchased it from Austin Powers.
- I was disappointed to read on Jonathan Papelbon’s Wikipedia page that he has two children, because I was hoping that the kid-friendly design of his home was all for him. Like he was Ricky Schroeder in “Silver Spoons” or something.
Overall: ballplayers in general have a lot of damn money and spend it on pretty fabulous real estate and because I have something of a real estate fetish I wish I was rich like baseball players are sometimes. There, I said it.
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.