Red Sox starter John Lackey doesn’t think Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez should be allowed to play baseball while he appeals his 211-game suspension, which runs through the end of the 2014 season. Via the Boston Globe:
“I’ve got a problem with it. You bet I do,” Lackey said on Thursday. “How is he still playing? He obviously did something and he’s playing. I’m not sure that’s right . . . It’s pretty evident he’s been doing stuff for a lot of years I’ve been facing him.”
Lackey said the topic comes up frequently in the Red Sox clubhouse, especially among the pitchers.
“Sure, we talk about it,” he said. “But talking to the media about it is a little bit different. People have strong feelings.
“He took me deep the first time I faced him as a rookie, and he admitted to doing stuff back then. There are a lot of things I want back from him.”
The problem, of course, is that Rodriguez’s right to appeal was collectively bargained. Lackey may not like Rodriguez and Rodriguez may be 100 percent guilty, but the players have been afforded the right to appeal. If Lackey happened to be the accused, I’m sure he would want to exercise his collectively-bargained right. Assuming that is the case it is hypocritical of Lackey to criticize Rodriguez for appealing, and any Major Leaguer who enjoys the benefits provided to them by the union should not be siding with Lackey on this issue.
Red Sox manager John Farrell was more level-headed about the situation:
As was Yankees manager Joe Girardi:
Josh Hamilton is not and never was a key part of the 2017 Texas Rangers plans. He was in camp and under contract and had at least a chance to make the team, but the Rangers fate as a ballclub did not depend on him. It would merely be nice for them if he revealed that he had a bit left in the tank and if he could, like a lot of other superstars in baseball history, give them one last season of decent production in part time play as a matter of depth and flexibility.
As such, this development is more unfortunate for Josh Hamilton and those who root for him than it is for the Rangers as a club, but it is unfortunate all the same:
That’s the fourth surgery he’s had on that knee in less than two years and the 11th knee surgery he’s had overall in his baseball career. It’s sad to say but safe to say that Hamilton’s days in baseball are numbered if not over completely. At some point an athlete’s body can only take so much.
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.