Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com reports that left-hander Dan Runzler will leave Giants’ camp tomorrow to see Dr. James Andrews in Florida regarding a strained lat muscle in the back of his shoulder.
Runzler originally strained the lat in the final game of the regular season last year and aggravated the injury while throwing a bullpen session earlier this week. An MRI showed that his rotator cuff and labrum were intact and while surgery for the lat hasn’t been ruled out, Runzler said his visit to Andrews is more about establishing a timeline to resume throwing.
Runzler was expected to begin this season in the minor leagues after posting a 6.26 ERA and 26/15 K/BB ratio over 27 1/3 innings with the Giants last season. The 26-year-old was primarily used as a starting pitcher with Triple-A Fresno last year and the hard-throwing southpaw even made his first major league start last August, but his command issues (5.0 BB/9 in the minors, 5.4 BB/9 in the majors) will likely keep him in the bullpen for the long haul.
Josh Hamilton is not and never was a key part of the 2017 Texas Rangers plans. He was in camp and under contract and had at least a chance to make the team, but the Rangers fate as a ballclub did not depend on him. It would merely be nice for them if he revealed that he had a bit left in the tank and if he could, like a lot of other superstars in baseball history, give them one last season of decent production in part time play as a matter of depth and flexibility.
As such, this development is more unfortunate for Josh Hamilton and those who root for him than it is for the Rangers as a club, but it is unfortunate all the same:
That’s the fourth surgery he’s had on that knee in less than two years and the 11th knee surgery he’s had overall in his baseball career. It’s sad to say but safe to say that Hamilton’s days in baseball are numbered if not over completely. At some point an athlete’s body can only take so much.
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.