Jamie Moyer was one of the better stories of the spring, successfully securing a spot in the Rockies’ rotation at the age of 49 after missing the entire 2011 season following Tommy John surgery. And he has a chance to make a little history in his first start tonight against the Astros.
Moyer, who is 49 years and 141 days old, could become the oldest pitcher to ever win a major league game. Jack Quinn, the current record holder, was 49 years and 70 days old when he won for the Brooklyn Dodgers on September 13, 1932.
While Moyer understands his place in history, he told Troy Renck of the Denver Post that his comeback is more about showing that he still deserves a spot on a major league roster.
“It’s special to have this opportunity. Maybe when my career is over, I will think about it more. But I didn’t come back for one game,” Moyer said. “I want to make a contribution to this team all season, helping guys as much as they help me.”
Moyer, a former sixth-round pick of the Cubs in 1984, owns a 4.24 career ERA and 267 lifetime wins over 24 major league seasons.
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.