Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter allowed four earned runs on nine hits and two walks over 3 1/3 innings on Saturday evening with the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds. It was his second minor league rehab start and he looked even worse than he did in his rough debut last week at Double-A Springfield.
Carpenter spoke to reporters — including Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — right after Saturday’s outing and acknowledged a feeling of disappointment about his lack of effectiveness:
“I have a long way to go before I can get outs up there,” Carpenter said. “If I can’t get outs down here, never mind getting outs up there. I didn’t feel like I was as sharp as I needed to be or should have been. It wasn’t what I was looking for.
It’s not fair to the ballclub. It’s not fair to our team. It’s not fair to our fans. The name on my shirt and whatever I’ve done in the past doesn’t give me a free pass to go out and take somebody’s job up there. If I’m not going to help, I’m not to go up there and embarrass myself. I’ll tell you that right now. I’ve got to get sharper — bottom line.”
Carpenter has experienced no shoulder discomfort and his fastball has been clocked as high as 95 mph, but his stuff overall has not been sharp. 10 of the last 14 hitters he faced on Saturday night reached base.
Joe Kelly will continue acting as St. Louis’ fifth starter. Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha are options.
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.