Apologies for an abbreviated version of ATH this morning. Chalk this one up to a first-thing-in-the-morning, first-ever orthodontist appointment for the official daughter of HardballTalk. She’s totally cool with it, of course. I’ve been in a fetal position regarding how much the braces are gonna cost me for about 72 hours right now. Guess I shouldn’t have gave in on that dental plan and gone with the keg every union meeting during the last NBC-HBT collective bargaining session. Though really Gleeman, Pouliot, Short, Silva and Baer are the ones who pushed for it. They don’t have kids.
Anyway, Adam Jones had a great night, smacking two two-run homers as the O’s west coast swing continues. David Ortiz had two of his own and he passed Carl Yastrzemski on the all-time homer list. The Yankees committed five errors in a loss that, based on the Twitter convo among Yankees people, may constitute that cold bucket of water in the face that convinces them that, no, the Yankees aren’t gonna be doing much contending in the second half. Hyun-Jin Ryu notched his 11th win, giving the Dodgers three starters with 11.
See you later this morning.
Orioles 4, Angels 2
Giants 7, Phillies 4
Rangers 4, Yankees 2
Dodgers 5, Pirates 2
Red Sox 14, Blue Jays 1
Marlins 3, Braves 1
White Sox 3, Royals 1
Brewers 5, Reds 2
Twins 4, Indians 3
Nationals 7, Rockies 2
Tigers 4, Diamondback 3
Mariners 5, Mets 2
Editor’s Note: Hardball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $35,000 Fantasy Baseball league for Tuesday night’s MLB games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7:05pm ET on Tuesday. Here’s the FanDuel link.
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.