You may remember when former major league infielder Jose Offerman attacked two players with a bat while he was a member of the independent Long Island Ducks back in 2007. He may now have to pay for it. If someone can track him down, that is.
John Nathans, one of the players involved in the attack, suffered a head injury which ended his baseball career and sued Offerman and the Ducks for $4.8 million in 2009. The matter is pending in federal court in Connecticut, but the Associated Press reports that Offerman is nowhere to be found:
As a federal lawsuit over the attack heads to trial, the attorney for the journeyman catcher whose career was ended with a swing of Offerman’s bat doesn’t know where the two-time All-Star is – and doesn’t expect him to show up for court.
J. Craig Smith, the attorney for former Bridgeport Bluefins catcher John Nathans, tried to serve Offerman with discovery documents in recent months, with no success.
“It’s been so difficult for me to track him down,” Smith said. “I certainly don’t expect Offerman to show up at court.”
Offerman was charged with felony assault after the attack, but it was dismissed after he was granted a probation program and ordered to take anger management classes. They apparently didn’t do him any good, as he was banned from the Dominican Winter League for life after throwing a punch at an umpire while serving as the manager of the Licey Tigers in 2010. While there’s record of him living in the New York City area, he has flown under the radar ever since.
The trial, scheduled for January, could still go on even if Offerman doesn’t show up to defend himself and he could be held liable for Smith’s injuries. The Ducks have denied any wrongdoing.
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.