Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos was shorted a ball by home plate umpire Scott Barry in his plate appearance leading off bottom of the sixth inning against the Rangers last night, but still ended up working a walk against starter Colby Lewis.
Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post has the details:
Ramos took a ball on a 2-2 pitch. Home plate umpire Scott Barry, according to Ramos, declared the count 3-2. Rangers catcher Chris Gimenez turned and asked, “Isn’t it 2-2?”
“Yeah, Barry replied. “2-2.”
“It’s not 3-2?” Ramos asked Barry.
“No, it’s 2-2,” Barry said.
Ramos shrugged and went back to the at-bat.
“I said in my mind, ‘That’s three balls,’ ” Ramos said. “That’s okay. Five balls. I’ll take it.”
The more astute among us may remember Barry as the umpire who picked a right with and then ejected Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard in the 14th inning of a game against the Astros. Barry’s decision to eject Howard forced the Phillies to, memorably, send pitcher Roy Oswalt out to left field.
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Josh Hamilton is not and never was a key part of the 2017 Texas Rangers plans. He was in camp and under contract and had at least a chance to make the team, but the Rangers fate as a ballclub did not depend on him. It would merely be nice for them if he revealed that he had a bit left in the tank and if he could, like a lot of other superstars in baseball history, give them one last season of decent production in part time play as a matter of depth and flexibility.
As such, this development is more unfortunate for Josh Hamilton and those who root for him than it is for the Rangers as a club, but it is unfortunate all the same:
That’s the fourth surgery he’s had on that knee in less than two years and the 11th knee surgery he’s had overall in his baseball career. It’s sad to say but safe to say that Hamilton’s days in baseball are numbered if not over completely. At some point an athlete’s body can only take so much.
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.