Tino Martinez

Tino Martinez is getting a plaque in Monument Park for some reason

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When I think monumental, I totally think Tino Martinez. Don’t you?

Torre is obvious. Bernie I get too. I mean, he’s no National Baseball Hall of Famer in my mind, but he has a non-ridiculous argument and he is certainly well-qualified for a team-specific Hall of Fame. He was really the face of the Yankees’ return to dominance back in the 90s, even if Jeter later came to define that dynasty. I’ll even make allowances for Paul O’Neill. I think that stretches things a bit, but fans loved that constantly-annoyed man an awful lot, so good for him and them.

Tino, though, I really don’t get. He was never the best player on any of those teams — his best year was the non-World Series year of 1997, but even then Bernie was better — and he was cast over the side when Jason Giambi became available. Our own Matthew Pouliot notes that Martinez is 52nd all-time among Yankees position players in Baseball-Reference’s version of WAR. To make up for that you gotta be a pretty big fan favorite, I think. And unless I’ve missed something, Martinez doesn’t tend to pump up Yankees fans. Indeed, the most love I recall him receiving was retro-love once Giambi sorta went bust in New York and some people wished Tino was back.

Monument Park is the Yankees’ own Hall of Fame and they can put anyone they want in it. But if you’re gonna put Tino Martinez in it, forgive the rest of us if we don’t speak about it in the hushed tones Yankees people do. It was one thing when it was Mantle, DiMaggio and all of those other guys, but Tino Martinez makes it a somewhat less-than-elite club, does it not?

Reid Brignac is trying to become a designated hitter

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Reid Brignac #4 of the Atlanta Braves poses on photo day at Champion Stadium on February 26, 2016 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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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.

Video: Andrelton Simmons makes a heads-up play to catch Carlos Asuaje off first base

ANAHEIM, CA - AUGUST 03:  Andrelton Simmons #2 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim returns to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on August 3, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images
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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.