UPDATE: Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that Pujols will have an MRI on his foot. If the tendon in his foot isn’t torn, he will likely receive a cortisone shot.
1:38 PM: Albert Pujols has been hobbled by plantar fasciitis in his left foot for most of the season, but it sounds like he could finally be reaching a breaking point.
According to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com, Pujols has left the team in order to have his foot evaluated. Angels manager Mike Scioscia would only say “we’ll see” when asked whether he’ll face an extended absence.
Pujols has swung the bat well since the All-Star break, hitting .353 (12-for-34) with two homers and seven RBI in eight games, but he told Gonzalez yesterday that he hasn’t felt any improvement with his foot.
“It’s been the same,” Pujols said in Spanish. “I still feel some pain. I still feel it bothering me a bit. That’s something that in the offseason, with time and with rest, hopefully the pain can go away.”
Pujols has made 65 out of 99 starts of the DH spot this season and just hasn’t looked comfortable moving around. With the Angels 11 games out in the AL West and 8.5 games out of a Wild Card spot, it might be time to put pride aside and be realistic.
Pujols, 33, still has about $218 million remaining on his 10-year contract with the Angels which runs through 2021.
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.