I was a kid in the 80s and I all I really remember about Kevin Mitchell were his baseball cards, his on-field exploits and the random things like that bare-handed catch, his multiple position switches, is prodigious weight gain and stuff like that. I certainly didn’t know anything about his life or what he was like as a person. You really didn’t know that stuff about anyone back then.
So I missed this thing about where he allegedly decapitated his girlfriend’s cat. Doc Gooden wrote about it in his autobiography in 1999, but I didn’t read that. Darryl Strawberry talked to HuffPostLive yesterday, however, and it came up:
“That’s a pretty good story. I think that’s pretty accurate,” Strawberry told host Marc Lamont Hill. “Kevin Mitchell did do that. Kevin Mitchell, he’s a different type of guy. Great guy, super teammate…I guess he figured that the girlfriend was acting a little crazy, so I’ll kill her cat.”
So I tweet about it just now out of shock, and then someone sends me a link to a story from October 1989 about how Mitchell used to eat Vicks VapoRup. Like actually ate it. With his mouth and stuff.
Next time someone says the players today aren’t like they used to be, think of Kevin Mitchell and then thank God Almighty that that’s the case.
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.