Wish I had thought to put this one in This Week in Hardball History, but a day after Puig was benched, this is oh-so-very appropriate.
On this day in 1925, Babe Ruth showed up late for batting practice after a night on the town. Yankees manager Miller Huggins suspended Ruth and slapped a $5,000 fine on him — which, adjusted for inflation is around $66,000 — for disobeying orders. Ruth was forced to apologize before he was reinstated nine days later.
The remarks from Ruth following his late arrival are epic:
Ruth finally arrived a few minutes before game time and Huggins jumped all over him. Ruth explained he had been at a Negro League game watching the St. Louis Stars, and said “he didn’t need any batting practice to hit against a bunch of bums like the Browns.”
Puig is a mere piker. Unless of course he said he was late and loafing and stuff due to the fact that opponents were the Marlins and Cubs.
In other news, can you imagine how this would’ve been covered if we had sports talk radio, the Internet, cable news and various social media platforms? Mercy.
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.