According to Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston, David Ortiz began his minor league rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket tonight and went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.
Ortiz struck out swinging in his first at-bat, but reached on a hard-hit single up the middle in the third inning and later delivered an RBI single through the shift in the fifth. The veteran slugger faced his biggest test of the night when he ran from first to third on a double, but fortunately for the Red Sox, he didn’t have any issues with his heel.
Ortiz is expected to need a minimum of 20 at-bats in the minors before he’s activated. Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes that it’s possible he could be ready to play in a series against the Indians next week, but the Red Sox could wait until they return home next Friday to begin a series against the Royals.
Jonny Gomes and Daniel Nava have split at-bats out of the DH spot during the early part of the season, but Ortiz’s return will push them out to left field. Jackie Bradley, Jr. has received most of the playing time there so far, but it’s likely he’ll soon be headed to the minors.
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.