National League rules are causing quite the conundrum for the Red Sox. As they’ll be in St. Louis for Games 3, 4, and 5, they will have to watch their pitchers bat rather than utilizing a DH, normally David Ortiz. They must choose one of Ortiz and Mike Napoli, who has been playing first base throughout the post-season. Scott Miller of CBS Sports tweets that the Red Sox have chosen to go with Ortiz at first base while Mike Napoli will ride the bench, at least for Game 3. Ortiz played first base during interleague play, even as recently as September 24-25.
Both Ortiz and Napoli have been their team’s most productive hitters, so this is a bit of a blow. Ortiz owns a .268/.392/.659 line in the 2013 post-season while Napoli is at .225/.326/.475.
Red Sox manager John Farrell will also switch it up in left field, going with Daniel Nava over Jonny Gomes. Nava hasn’t started a post-season game for the Sox since Game 4 of the ALCS against Tigers starter Doug Fister. Gomes got the vote of confidence from Farrell despite facing two right-handed starters. He is hitless in seven trips to the plate in World Series play thus far.
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.