Let's just take the player's word for it

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Wellemeyer loses about 5 mph on fastball
is the headline to article penned by Joe Strauss in today’s St. Louis
Post-Dispatch. The headline is culled entirely from the following quote
by Wellemeyer:

“Last year I was throwing 94-96 (mph), this year I’m topping out at
90-91,” he said. “I don’t know what it is but there’s definitely a
difference. It makes things more of a challenge, that’s for sure.”

With maybe five minutes of extra work, Strauss could have done
something to back or contradict Wellemeyer’s claim, but there’s
nothing. He does, at least, go to pitching coach Dave Duncan for an
additional comment, but whatever he got there wasn’t quote-worthy.

According to the article:

Pitching coach Dave Duncan suggests Wellemeyer is trying to be too
precise with his pitches, an observation Wellemeyer doesn’t dispute.
But Wellemeyer says the reason is his diminished velocity, which makes
his mistake pitches more vulnerable.

So, let’s go to the numbers. According to Baseball Info Solutions numbers presented at Fangraphs.com, Wellemeyer’s average fastball has slipped a bit, dropping from 92.3 mph to 91.5. PitchFx data had him at 92.2 in 2007, 92.7 last year and 91.4 this season.

Obviously, that’s not five mph. Five mph is huge. If his fastball was
down that much, he would have been demoted to the bullpen or place on
the disabled list a month ago.

Instead, Wellemeyer’s fastball is down about one mph, though not entirely consistently. As this chart shows, he’s been hanging around in the 92.0-92.5 range at times and dropping off to 90.5-91.0 in the others.

The drop likely is a problem. However, the bigger issue is that he’s
thinking about that drop. Duncan would surely prefer that he forget
about the radar gun readings and just go out and pitch. If Wellemeyer
can’t do that, he likely will find himself bounced from the rotation
soon.

Aledmys Diaz is trying to improve his defense with strobe glasses

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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.

Eduardo Rodriguez could rejoin the Red Sox rotation in July

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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.