Dallas Braden hasn’t pitched in a major league game since April 16, 2011. And now his absence will stretch into the 2013 campaign.
According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, Athletics manager Bob Melvin said this afternoon that Braden will undergo a second surgery on his left shoulder.
Braden has been sidelined all season following surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule muscle in his left shoulder last May. The 29-year-old left-hander was still hoping to return in September as of a month ago, but his shoulder simply hasn’t responded as hoped. Melvin said that he’s set for “exploratory” surgery, so the extent of the damage isn’t yet known.
Braden owns a 4.16 ERA over parts of five seasons in the majors. He had a 3.50 ERA over 30 starts with the Athletics in 2010, a season highlighted by his perfect game against the Rays on Mother’s Day.
Braden is under team control through 2013, but it’s worth noting that he earned $3.35 million this season in arbitration. Given his shoulder issues, it could be a tough call to tender him a contract this winter.
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.