Last week Padres CEO Tom Garfinkel ruffled more than a few feathers when a recording of him comparing Zack Greinke to “Rain Man” surfaced. It showed insensitivity to both those with social anxiety disorder, like Greinke. It also showed insensitivity to those with and those caring for people with autism, who have to deal with “Rain Man” stereotyping pretty constantly.
Garfinkel had apologized even before the furor began. But as Maury Brown notes, Garfinkel has gone the extra mile here, showing genuine remorse for his comments and being a pretty darn standup guy about it all. Maury, by the way, has a special interest in this — and was among the harshest critics of Garfinkel last week — as he has a child on the autism spectrum. Even knowing him a little bit and/or following him on Twitter, you get a pretty good idea of how challenging raising an autistic child can be, so you can understand why he was particularly irked among baseball writers.
Everyone makes mistakes. These days everyone apologizes for them. Rare it is, however, that you see apologies in human terms which evince genuine regret over those mistakes. Good on Garfinkel for doing so.
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.