UPDATE: Pettitte has now made it official, issuing a statement saying: “I’m announcing my retirement prior to the conclusion of our season because I want all of our fans to know now while I’m still wearing this uniform how grateful I am for their support throughout my career. I want to have the opportunity to tip my cap during these remaining days and thank them for making my time here with the Yankees so special.”
Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that he’s “getting a lot of buzz” that Andy Pettitte will announce his retirement later today.
Pettitte previously retired after the 2010 season, sitting out 2011 before re-signing with the Yankees last year. He pitched very well in 2012 and has been a solid mid-rotation starter this season, throwing 169 innings with a 3.93 ERA and 117/45 K/BB ratio. He’s been particularly good of late with a 2.02 ERA in 49 innings since mid-August, so performance-wise Pettitte is certainly still very capable of being an asset at age 41.
If this is it for Pettitte he’s lined up to make his final two starts in New York this weekend and in Houston next weekend. Those are the only two teams he’s ever played for and Pettitte lives in Texas, so that’s a helluva way to go out.
UPDATE: Sherman has confirmation that Pettitte is indeed calling it quits and says the left-hander “has told friends this season has been very hard on his body physically, much tougher than he had anticipated.” And in a nice bit of timing, his final Yankee Stadium start Sunday is on “Mariano Rivera Day.”
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.