There was some thought that Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez would move to center field for the 2014 season, but manager Walt Weiss put that idea to rest today. According to MLB.com’s Thomas Harding, CarGo will stay in left while center field is up for grabs between Drew Stubbs, Corey Dickerson, and Brandon Barnes.
Gonzalez dealt with a sprained middle finger in the second half of the 2013 season, then underwent an emergency appendectomy last month. While he shouldn’t be described as injury-prone (a finger sprain and a bursting appendix are fluke injuries, after all), he has played in 135 or fewer games in each of the past three seasons. Gonzalez is expected to be put under less stress in an outfield corner rather than in center, particularly at Coors Field.
Gonzalez was quite productive last season when he was healthy and in the lineup. In 110 games, Gonzalez posted a .302/.367/.591 line and made the All-Star roster for the second consecutive year. The 28-year-old is entering the fourth year of a seven-year, $80 million contract with the Rockies.
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.