Diamondbacks starter Wade Miley finished a close second in NL Rookie of the Year voting last season, but he may be more well-known in the team’s clubhouse for his love of lottery tickets. In Steve Gilbert’s column for MLB.com, he describes how Miley and mental skills coach Peter Crone would sit together and scratch off lottery tickets every Sunday.
Crone and reliever J.J. Putz discussed pranking Miley and came up with a scheme involving the lottery tickets. From Gilbert’s article:
Fellow reliever Will Harris picked up a fake lottery ticket from Spencer’s and they mixed it in with the real ones last Sunday.
“I thought I won $10,000,” Miley said.
As he jumped around high-fiving his teammates in the trainer’s room, Crone brought him back down to earth.
“You know there’s a lot of people in here right now for no reason,” Crone told him.
It was then Miley realized he had been pranked. To make matters worse, the team sent the video to MLB Network’s Intentional Talk, and it aired this past week.
“They set me up,” Miley said. “The whole world knows now.”
As for his efforts on the field, Miley at least is following up his great rookie campaign with a solid sophomore season, posting a 3.63 ERA in 148.2 innings over 24 starts. That will surely help relieve any lottery-related embarrassment.
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.