PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. Reid Brignac looks at the numbers from 2011 attached to his name and still has trouble making them add up.
His offensive struggles the .193 batting average, the five total extra-base hits followed a promising rookie season with the Tampa Bay Rays after a highly touted minor league career.
But last year, after inheriting the starting job at shortstop when the Rays dealt incumbent Jason Bartlett to San Diego, the bottom fell out.
Brignac quickly lost his grip as an everyday player because of his troubles hitting the ball and eventually wound up back with Tampa Bays Triple-A club in Durham to get more playing time and try to get back on track. And that opened the door for his pal, utilityman Sean Rodriguez, to shift from his primary spot at second base and begin settling in at short later in the season.
I had a lot of adversity last year things didnt necessarily go my way, he said. It was extremely difficult and mentally taxing every day not finding any co...