Take from this what you will, but Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos scouted today’s Orioles-Phillies game. It’s possible he was just getting a look at a division rival, but Morosi notes that Anthopoulos left after Joe Blanton after was done pitching.
Morosi writes that the Blue Jays are interested in pitching and that Blanton is available in the right deal, so this has a chance of being a match on paper. If Anthopoulos was truly there to see Blanton, he probably liked what he saw. The 31-year-old right-hander allowed four hits over three shutout innings while striking out three and walking just one.
Of course, Blanton was limited to just 41 1/3 innings at the major league level last season due to an elbow injury. Even with a strong showing this spring, it’s likely the Phillies would have to eat a portion of his $8.5 million salary for this season in a potential deal.
It’s not clear what direction the Phillies would go if they end up finding a suitor for Blanton. Kyle Kendrick and Joel Pineiro are among the internal alternatives for a rotation spot, but they could target Roy Oswalt if they get some salary relief.
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.