Billy Butler

Billy Butler knocks in seven in Royals’ 9-8 win over Phillies

10 Comments

Billy Butler had a grand slam, a two-run single and an RBI groundout to drive in a career-high seven runs as the Royals topped the Phillies 9-8 on Sunday.

Butler’s slam off Cole Hamels was originally ruled a double, but it was correctly overturned on replay.

The Royals won today despite going down 4-0 in the bottom of the first. James Shields gave up five singles in the inning, the first two of the infield variety. He rebounded from there to hold the Phillies scoreless over the next five innings.

Hamels, meanwhile, gave up eight runs in 5 2/3 innings to take his second straight loss. The 2012 17-game winner has opened this year 0-2 with a 10.97 ERA.

The Phillies almost made up a big deficit of their own by scoring four times in the bottom of the ninth before Kelvin Herrera finally struck out Erik Kratz to end the game.

With the Royals playing in an NL park, Butler only started today because the Phillies were throwing a left-hander. He played first base, while Eric Hosmer took a seat on the bench.

Butler became the first Royal to drive in seven runs since Jose Guillen did it on June 7, 2008. He had driven in as many as five runs just once previously, collecting six RBI against the Mariners as a rookie back in 2007.

Josh Hamilton has knee surgery, out 2-3 months

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 24:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers in the dugout before a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 24, 2015 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Getty Images
3 Comments

Josh Hamilton is not and never was a key part of the 2017 Texas Rangers plans. He was in camp and under contract and had at least a chance to make the team, but the Rangers fate as a ballclub did not depend on him. It would merely be nice for them if he revealed that he had a bit left in the tank and if he could, like a lot of other superstars in baseball history, give them one last season of decent production in part time play as a matter of depth and flexibility.

As such, this development is more unfortunate for Josh Hamilton and those who root for him than it is for the Rangers as a club, but it is unfortunate all the same:

That’s the fourth surgery he’s had on that knee in less than two years and the 11th knee surgery he’s had overall in his baseball career. It’s sad to say but safe to say that Hamilton’s days in baseball are numbered if not over completely. At some point an athlete’s body can only take so much.

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
7 Comments

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.