Quick hits: Dice-K hits the DL

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– Daisuke Matsuzaka was placed on the 15-day disabled list due
to right shoulder weakness. An MRI showed no structural damage, but
manager Terry Francona mentioned that he likely won’t return anytime
soon, saying, “We have a lot of work ahead of us to get him back to
being Daisuke.”

– Jeremy Guthrie tossed seven innings of one-run ball as the Orioles completed a sweep of the first-place Phillies on Sunday. The defending World Champions are now just 13-22 at home.

– Paul Konerko drove in the 1,000th run of his career on Sunday as the White Sox topped the Reds 4-1.

– Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd squashed rumors that Brad Hawpe might be on the trade block.

– Albert Pujols homered twice — including a grand slam — and drove in six as the Cardinals cruised past the Royals
12-5. Pujols now leads the majors with 26 home runs and 68 RBI. With
the win, Tony LaRussa joined Connie Mack (3,831) and John McGraw
(2,763) as the only managers to reach 2,500 wins.

– Brad Lidge is likely to be activated from the disabled list this week.

– David Ortiz homered again on Sunday, but the Red Sox defeated the
Braves 6-5 in walk-off fashion behind the unlikely Nick Green, who wrapped the ball around the Pesky Pole to secure the victory.

– And finally, the future of Steven Soderbergh’s “Moneyball” is in doubt.

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.