UPDATE: Parker is done after eight shutout innings. He gave up just the one hit while throwing 69 out of 111 pitches for strikes and now owns a 2.40 ERA over his first eight starts with Oakland. If everything pans out the way the A’s hope, he’ll have many more chances at a no-no in the future.
12:16 AM: Michael Young ended Parker’s no-hit bid by leading off the top of the eighth inning with a single through the middle. It’s safe to say A’s manager Bob Melvin is the most relieved person in the ballpark.
12:05 AM: There’s something interesting going on in Oakland this evening, as Athletics’ rookie right-hander Jarrod Parker has held the Rangers hitless through seven innings. The A’s lead this one 10-0. Yep, 10-0.
Parker has walked three and struck out six, including two whiffs of Josh Hamilton. The bummer is that he has already thrown 107 pitches, so it’s unlikely he’ll get a chance to finish this one off. The 23-year-old right-hander hasn’t thrown more than 112 pitches in his previous seven starts since his promotion from Triple-A Sacramento.
Stay tuned to see if the A’s can deliver the fourth no-hitter in baseball this season, joining Phil Humber (perfect game), Jered Weaver and Johan Santana.
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.