Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays' Reid Brignac wouldn't mind changing positions


The sight might have appeared symbolic, but Reid Brignac isn't reading too much into it. There was Brignac, the Rays' 2004 second-round pick and shortstop prospect, playing second base in a recent exhibition. His double play partner? None other than 2008 top pick and touted shortstop Tim Beckham, 19, who is in his first big-league camp after the club invested a $6.15 million signing bonus.

Brignac, 23, has played about as many spring innings at second than shortstop, his natural position, but says it's an adjustment he's willing to make if it helps him eventually stick in the majors.

Manager Joe Maddon said he doesn't want to preclude Brignac from the shortstop mix, saying he'll play a preponderance of his time there. The Rays believe Brignac can become an everyday shortstop. They just want to expose him to second in case they need help and say it could actually help him, too.

"He's just a really good defender," Maddon said. "Love his makeup. I just think it might help him in the future knowing that he is a shortstop but he can play second base, too. And he's one of those kids who is able to handle it. It's not going to freak him out. He's not going to get the wrong thoughts in his head. So it works."

Brignac (pronounced Brin-yac) said he's open to anything, especially after getting a taste of the majors last season in July, when he made his debut while Jason Bartlett was on the disabled list. Brignac, who went 0-for-10 and made two errors in four big-league games, said he learned a lot in that time.

Brignac knows there are strides he can make offensively. Though he is 1-for-16 this spring, Maddon has worked with him on his swing path, and Brignac hit a home run Tuesday.

"I want to stay at shortstop. I want to play shortstop. I want to be a shortstop for many years," Brignac said. "But I'm not opposed to playing second or third or first or outfield. As long as I'm staying here."

Brignac has worked with second baseman Adam Kennedy on learning the nuances of the position. Kennedy, who said he had to make a similar switch early in his career, said it's not easy because the ball comes at you differently.

"(Brignac) is a good athlete," Kennedy said. "So it shouldn't be too big of a problem."

Bartlett also remembers taking ground balls at second early in his career before eventually becoming the Rays MVP in last year's World Series run. Bartlett said Brignac needs to keep his feet moving defensively but added he has come a long way.

"If I skip a beat or something, he'll be right there to take my job," Bartlett said. "If it doesn't happen with the Rays, it'll definitely happen with some other team."

Brignac said he's a more confident player this spring and believes he belongs. And he's up for any challenge a new position — or a younger prospect — might bring.

"It's going to be like that every year," Brignac said. "Every year, there's a new draft. Every year, there's a new No. 1 pick. Every year, there's a new Tim Beckham or a new hot kid that's going to be good in the future.

"They've still got to come and take my job. As long as I can prevent that by playing my game and staying focused, I don't have any worries."

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith

Tampa Bay Rays' Reid Brignac wouldn't mind changing positions 03/06/09 [Last modified: Friday, March 6, 2009 9:08pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Why don't defensive players get more Heisman Trophy love?


    In a story we posted online earlier today (and coming to your doorstep in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times), I made my case for why Florida State safety Derwin James should be a preseason …

    Boston College defensive end Harold Landry didn't get any Heisman love last year, despite leading the country in sacks.
  2. On the defensive: Heisman history not in Derwin James' favor


    The lowdown on Derwin James? "No offense to (Michigan's Jabrill) Peppers (a Heisman finalist last year)," ESPN analyst Rex Ryan says, "but he only wished he was the player this kid was." (Monica Herndon, Times)
  3. Kevin Kiermaier: Return to action Thursday 'didn't set the world on fire'

    The Heater

    Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier's return from the hip injury that sidelined him since June 8 could have gone better Thursday in Port Charlotte. He broke two bats and went hitless in two at bats while playing for the Class A Charlotte Stone Crabs.

    Kevin Kiermaier takes cuts in the cage during batting practice before the game between the Rays and Texas Rangers Saturday at Tropicana Field. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  4. Live updates, what you need to know about Bucs training camp (w/photos, video)


    Bucs training camp is here.

    This morning was the first of 13 practices that are free and open to the general public, so we have all the details to answer your questions about where and when and so on.

    Dirk Koetter is nothing if not precise, with practices starting at 8:45 a.m. and running until 10:27. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  5. Fennelly: It's high time for Bucs to take Tampa Bay back


    TAMPA — Welcome to the proving ground.

    Bucs training camp begins today.

    Hard Knocks and flop sweat.

    Work and more work.

    "We have a lot to prove,'' wide receiver Mike Evans (13) says. "We're good on paper, but we've got to do it." [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]