Danny Espinosa has been a mess for the past two seasons, going from starting second baseman to bench player for the Nationals while hitting just .199 in 158 total games.
And now the Nationals are thinking about asking the 28-year-old to give up switch-hitting, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com.
For his career Espinosa has hit .271 with an .804 OPS as a right-handed hitter against left-handed pitching, compared to .213 with a .646 OPS as a left-handed hitter against right-handed pitching.
Of course, it’s not always as simple as those numbers suggest because switch-hitters get about two-thirds of their playing time versus right-handed pitchers and Espinosa has almost zero experience facing righties as a righty.
With that said, at this point it probably can’t hurt to see if Espinosa can learn how to hit reasonably well from the right side full time. His days as a switch-hitting regular are probably gone for good anyway, at least in Washington.
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly and Zach Buchanan report that Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner has been competing in rodeos under a fake name as recently as December. The fake name is Mason Saunders. Bumgarner explains that “Mason” is shortened from “Madison,” while “Saunders” is his wife’s maiden name.
Bumgarner — err, Saunders — and one of his rodeo partners, Jaxson Tucker, won $26,560 in a team-roping rodeo competition in December. The Rancho Rio Arena posted a picture of the pair on Facebook, highlighting that they roped four steers in 31.36 seconds.
As Baggarly and Buchanan point out, Bumgarner also pointed out in a rodeo competition last March, just a couple days before pitching in a Cactus League game versus the Athletics, back when he was still with the Giants.
Bumgarner suffered bruised ribs and a left shoulder AC sprain in 2017 when he got into a dirt bike accident. Given that, Bumgarner’s latest extracurricular activity does raise a concern for the Diamondbacks, who inked him to a five-year, $85 million contract two months ago. Baggarly and Buchanan asked Bumgarner about such a concern. Bumgarner referred them to the club’s managing partner Ken Kendrick. Kendrick directed them to GM Mike Hazen. Hazen declined speaking about “specific contract language.” For what it’s worth, Bumgarner says he primarily uses his right hand to rope.
The jig is up on Bumgarner’s hobby. He jokingly said to The Athletic’s pair, “I’m nervous about this interview right now.” He added, “I’m upset with both you two.”