Julio Lugo, on Red Sox fans booing him for not making enough plays defensively:
If you try to make a play like that and you get destroyed by you
[media] guys the next day, it’s not fair. You guys can say whatever you
want. I can take it. I can [expletive] take it. I’m a human being, I’ve
got feelings, but I can take it. It’s tough. Nobody wants to be booed.
Not me, not anybody. At the same time, I’m not making excuses. I’ll
tell you the truth. I think the fans have been fair to me.
Sometimes you deserve the boos. Sometimes you don’t, but I love it
here. I work my ass off. I go to sleep feeling good every night that
I’m trying my best. I’ve got that best job in the world. I get paid a
lot of money. You’ve got everything you want–money, fame, a bunch of
girls looking at you. What more can you want? I love Boston, man.
There’s nowhere else you’d want to play. I love it.
Since signing a four-year, $36 million contract in the winter of 2006,
Lugo has hit .248/.316/.343 while sitting out one-third of the Red
Sox’s games. And his defense at shortstop, which is drawing most of the
fans’ ire of late, has rated 3.2 runs below average during that time
according to Ultimate Zone Rating.
Add it all up and Lugo has been about 13 runs better than a
replacement-level shortstop while being paid about $20 million (thus
far), so suffice it to say that his love affair with Boston isn’t
exactly mutual. On the other hand, he makes a pretty good point with
the whole “money, fame, and a bunch of girls looking at you” thing.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.
Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.
The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.
Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.
The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.
He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.