Ken Griffey Jr. is usually held up as the one slugging superstar from the 90s who did it clean. He may have. We don’t know. Nor do we know that the guys who are accused of it were dirty. But despite all of that uncertainty, there has always been a sense that accusing Griffey of taking PEDs — if anyone ever dared — would be a major, major escalation in the PED wars.
Philadelphia Daily News columnist Marcus Hayes escalated last night.
He was in a long Twitter war with Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News about who was better — Ichiro or Griffey. The entire exchange is play-by-played over at Crossing Broad. Setting aside the fact that only a dunderhead would say that Ichiro was a better overall player than Griffey, Hayes kept couching his argument about Griffey’s decline years as his “post-PED years.” Lawrence let it go a couple of times, maybe incredulous about what he was reading. But he finally called Hayes on it:
Hayes never backed down after that, which leaves him on record as saying that Ken Griffey Jr. was a PED user. Because of “catastrophic dropoff and soft-tissue injuries.” I’ve not gone back and looked but I’m guessing Hayes has also accused people of being on the juice specifically because they never dropped off and stayed healthy even as they aged.
Of course that’s the beauty of a witch hunt. You don’t need actual evidence or even coherence. People are already so riled up that evidence and anti-evidence are one and the same.
Anyway, good to know someone who actually works for a mainstream media outlet is on record accusing Ken Griffey Jr. of juicing. I never thought we’d get there, but here we are.
Note: this post originally identified Hayes as a “Philly.com” columnist. He is not. He is a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. Apologies for the error.
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.