That story in which Melky Cabrera’s agents — the Levinsons — are alleged to have facilitated clients’ acquisition of PEDs by setting up checking accounts and things? It’s being corroborated, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. The problem? The chief corroborator is Kirk Radomski:
“I will corroborate the relationship I had with Paul and the Levinsons,” Radomski, the former New York Mets clubhouse attendant, said in a telephone interview. “I met players through their agents. I met players through other players.”
Obviously Radomski would be in a position to know — he’s the PED dealer at the center of the allegations, so what he says is relevant. But he also has extreme credibility problems. His testimony at the Roger Clemens trial was pretty destructive to the government’s case. Mostly because it differed from his testimony before the grand jury. Which differed from the accounts in the book he wrote (and for which he received a $450,000 advance).
While MLB took Radomski’s word as gospel for the Mitchell Report, one would hope that if baseball is going to make a case against the Levinsons for being in the PED business, it’s going to rely on someone besides Radomski to do so.
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.