It’s back to mop-up duty for Freddy Garcia.
The Yankees’ 35-year-old right-hander, who was initially bounced from the rotation at the end of April, is returning to the pen now to make room for Ivan Nova.
Nova, who is recovering from rotator cuff inflammation, will face the Rays on Saturday. He last pitched on Aug. 21, when he gave up six runs in a loss to the White Sox.
Garcia has pitched a total of 17 2/3 innings in his last four starts, giving up 15 runs and 11 walks in the process. He’s 7-6 with a 5.19 ERA in 102 1/3 innings for the season.
The switch means that David Phelps will remain in the rotation, though perhaps only to make one more start. Phelps hadn’t been much better than Garcia of late, giving up eight runs in 8 2/3 innings in his two starts this month. Andy Pettitte’s return next week should push Phelps back to the pen.
Barring any setbacks, the Yankees will have their ducks in a row for the final two weeks of the season. Of course, thoughts about who from the group of Pettitte, Phil Hughes, Nova and Garcia might be in line for postseason starts behind CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda have had to take a backseat to worrying about actually reaching the postseason.
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.