After spending two games in the designated hitter spot, Derek Jeter is itching to test his surgically-repaired ankle at his familiar shortstop position.
According to Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York, Jeter said following today’s Grapefruit League game that the plan is for him to play shortstop Wednesday against the Phillies. After going 1-for-2 with a single in his return during his spring debut on Saturday, Jeter was hitless in two at-bats this afternoon against the Cardinals.
The Yankees will wait to see how Jeter’s ankle feels before making an official decision about Wednesday, but manager Joe Girardi said that he’ll play four or five innings for his first time back on the field. It’s unlikely that he’ll play back-to-back games at shortstop right out of the gate, but he should have plenty of time to get there before Opening Day.
Jeter, 38, led the majors with 216 hits last season and currently sits 11th all-time with 3,304 career hits. If healthy, he should continue to climb that illustrious list this year. He’s just 12 hits away from passing Eddie Collins for 10th place and 16 away from passing Paul Molitor for ninth.
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.