You may remember that Hall of Fame writer Hal McCoy recently asked for a favor. You see, because McCoy is legally blind, a friend has been driving him to and from Reds home games for the past five seasons. However, after his friend had to step aside for health reasons, McCoy took to his personal blog last month to see if someone was willing to take over. Fortunately, he didn’t have much trouble finding a replacement.
In a must-read column over at FOXSportsOhio.com, McCoy writes that he was overwhelmed by the response. He received a total of 437 offers at last count, including one applicant who was willing to move back from Dubai for the opportunity.
McCoy ultimately selected Ray Snedegar, a retired Air Force load master. The gig only pays 55 cents a mile and will require late nights and a 180-mile round trip, but Snedegar doesn’t mind.
When he saw my blog, Snedegar sent his email, “Because it would give me a chance to mix and mingle with a lot of new people after losing my wife. I love baseball and I love Hal’s writing.”
Here’s hoping that Snedegar and McCoy have a great summer.
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.