On July 11, 1914, the Boston Red Sox gave a 19 year-old pitcher the start. They had just purchased his contract from the minor league Baltimore Orioles a week before. The delay in getting to Boston was due to the Sox being on a road trip down to Washington. There was no rush to get him on a train, so he cooled his heels for a few days. No need to change plans for some kid named Babe Ruth.
Ruth would tell people later that, that very morning, he met his future wife, Helen Woodford, when she served him in a coffee shop. Others have cast doubt on this. Regardless of the truth, it was a big day for the guy, both in reality and in his memory years later.
That afternoon Ruth made his big league debut. He pitched seven innings, allowing two runs on three hits and picked up the win. He only struck out one guy, though. Which was the same number of times he struck out while batting, as he posted an 0 for 2 day. He lost his next start and after that wasn’t used by the Sox all that much, pitching in only five games all year. The Red Sox weren’t really the big news in Boston that year anyway. The Braves won the World Series and became something of a sensation in doing so.
Ruth would have a handful of better days ahead. In the meantime, here’s the box score from the game which launched a legend.
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.