Howie Kendrick booted a grounder, Brett Lawrie was aggressive and now the Angels are mad.
With the bases loaded and none out in the sixth inning today in the game between the Angels and Blue Jays, Jose Bautista hit a grounder to second that looked like a potential double-play ball for Kendrick. Only the ball got through him. After running the ball down, Kendrick, failing to appraise the situation, flipped it to Erick Aybar at second base. Lawrie, who went from second to third initially, took advantage and dashed off for home.
That’s where things got dicey. Catcher John Hester got in front of the plate and had to reach up for the throw. Lawrie, instead of going for home plate, decided to deliver a forearm to Hester’s mask and try to dislodge the ball. He failed in that and he missed home plate afterwards, but he also never appeared to be tagged on the play. At that point, he jumped up to try to touch home plate, Hester dove to try to tag him and he ended up being ruled safe by umpire James Hoye.
It seemed to be the right call; replays weren’t conclusive, but it didn’t look like the tag was ever made. Nonetheless, Mike Scioscia was ejected for arguing. Also, Lawrie and Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher started jawing from their respective dugouts.
Lawrie figures to bat once more today, and unless it comes in a big situation, it’d be a surprise if the Angels don’t plunk him. They clearly weren’t happy with his hit on Hester, and his jawing afterwards couldn’t have helped matters.
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.