Brandon Phillips’ interview with MLB.com was noted mostly for his “how the [expletive] am I declining” comment, but John Fay of Cincinnati.com notes that Phillips is either lying or deluded about something else too: the source of his beef with local reporters.
Phillips is not talking to the four daily beat guys who cover the Reds because, he says, they have noted his struggles without noting that he was hit by a pitch on the wrist last June and that that injury may very well have been the source of his struggles. Fay calls Phillips’ b.s. out for what it is:
Phillips can talk or not talk. That doesn’t matter to me. There will be 24 players on the roster who will talk. But the notion that we didn’t write about his injury is blatantly false.
It was mentioned over and over again.
Fay gives examples. And, personally speaking, I remember such comments from him, Mark Sheldon, C. Trent Rosecrans and Hal McCoy, who Phillips is also boycotting.
Fay is mostly diplomatic here, talking about how Phillips may have a big year and saying that fairness dictates that reporters mention the injury as a reason for Phillips’ decline. Frankly, I think they can and should be more pointed with Phillips over this than they are, but credit to Fay and his colleagues for taking the high road.
But kudos, too, for Fay not doing what a lot of writers who deal with difficult players do, which is to remain silent and allow the player to dictate the (false) terms of a given controversy. One can and probably should let a player be delusional if he wants to be, but one should not stand by when those delusions serve to cast aspersions on others.
Good job, Mr. Fay.
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.