This story from investigative reporters Teri Thompson and Michael O’Keefe of the New York Daily News adds a funny little wrinkle — but probably nothing more — to the ongoing Alex Rodriguez PED saga.
A-Rod apparently went on a desperate hunt for performance-enhancers of any kind in early 2012, enlisting the help of former NFL linebacker and admitted steroid user Bill Romanowski to set up a meet-and-greet with BALCO founder Victor Conte.
Conte, who spent four months in prison in 2005 on BALCO-related charges, could not provide A-Rod with any illegal performance-enhancing drugs. But Conte did get A-Rod some legal supplements and has now relayed his entire experience with the veteran slugger to the Daily News. Here’s an excerpt:
[Conte] described how Rodriguez showed up uninvited on his doorstep in May 2012 with admitted BALCO steroid casualty Bill Romanowski, the former NFL linebacker, to discuss legal products that could give Rodriguez an edge.
Conte said Rodriguez had been trying to set up a sitdown through Romanowski for two months before they finally met, the day before the Yankees kicked off a three-game series with the Oakland A’s.
Romanowski had tried to convince Conte to fly to New York or Los Angeles to meet with Rodriguez, but Conte said he declined the offer.
“I flushed it out with Romo before they ever showed up at the office,” Conte said. “I clearly told Romo it (anything he could do for Rodriguez) was about legal performance enhancement.”
Conte’s daughter Veronica hand-delivered a package of over-the-counter supplements to A-Rod’s hotel room when the Yankees were playing in Oakland on May 25, 2012 and two packages of the same legal stuff were eventually shipped to Rodriguez at addresses in Miami Beach and Greenwich Village. Victor Conte told the Daily News that he spoke to Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch twice over the phone because A-Rod had referred to Bosch as his “nutrition guy” and Conte didn’t want to overlap certain supplement regimens.
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.