Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez continues to play through knee tendinitis that has bothered him all season and it’s starting to show in his performance.
Gonzalez is hitting .275 with seven homers and an .803 OPS, which would be very good for most players. However, that would be his lowest batting average in a full season by 20 points and his lowest OPS in a full season by 78 points. Beyond that he’s also attempted just two stolen bases in 42 games after stealing 21, 20, 20, and 26 bases in the previous four years.
Here’s what Gonzalez told Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post about the status of his knee:
I feel a little better; still fighting with that knee. I think it’s showing in stolen bases. It’s kind of slowed down a lot. But I continue to get treatment every day and hopefully it gets better and I can bring that speed back to the club. …
Sometimes, thinking about my hitting mechanics, and sometimes it bothers me (there) too. To have the leg kick and sit on that knee. When I’m having that pain, even without trying, my reaction is to just get (off) of that knee and jump out front. It’s causing me problems in the batter’s box. But like I said, I’m fighting with that, trying to do anything possible to stay in the lineup every day.
Gonzalez has played in 42 of 45 games for the Rockies, but based on those quotes at some point you’ve got to figure a little extra time off might help him stay productive all season long.
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.