Scott Rolen

Report: Scott Rolen is leaning towards retirement

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Eight-time Gold Glove winner Scott Rolen had a nice little two-month resurgence for the Reds this summer, but he couldn’t keep it going in September and October. Now, with his contract up and free agency looming, he’s leaning towards retirement at age 37, USATODAY’s Bob Nightengale reports.

Rolen has been plagued by shoulder problems for years, and he again spent time on the DL this season when the soreness became too much to handle. A perennial All-Star in his prime, he played in 140 games just once and 120 games three times after turning 30. He hit .245/.318/.398 with eight homers and 39 RBI in 294 at-bats this season.

Because Rolen added so little to his stats after his first nine full seasons, he probably won’t sniff Cooperstown. It doesn’t help that he wasn’t properly rated when he was at his best. Even though he had three 30-homer and five-100 RBI seasons while being widely recognized as the game’s premier defensive third baseman, he just once received significant MVP consideration, that coming when he finished fourth in 2004.

Still, it’s hard to look at Rolen’s body of work and not conclude that he was one of the 12 or 15 best third basemen in major league history. Maybe that’s still not Hall of Fame-worthy, but he had a terrific career. It’s too bad it had to conclude with an NLDS-ending strikeout today.

Reid Brignac is trying to become a switch hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images
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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.

Video: Andrelton Simmons makes a heads-up play to catch Carlos Asuaje off first base

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 03:  Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 3, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
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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.