The L.A. Times really wants you to hate Manny Ramirez

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You may not have noticed this given how little coverage it has gotten, but Manny Ramirez is coming back tonight. If you think that means that the media’s hand-wringing and sanctimony about all of this is about to end, well, you’re just not familiar with the media’s work:

I’ve never asked Dodger fans for a favor before, but I have one
request now: When that first home game comes on July 16, for one night,
one at-bat or at least one swing, boo Manny. I’m not asking you to burn
your coveted Man-wig, hide the name on the back of your No. 99 T-shirt
under duct tape or torture yourself by watching Angels games. All I ask
is that if you attend Manny’s first home game, you boo. Once, at least
. . . Dodgers fans should boo Manny for one at-bat to make sure he
knows his actions were unacceptable . . . They need to say to Manny,
“We’re the ones who pay to watch you, and we demand better.”

There are a lot of reasons why newspapers like the Los Angles Times are
dying. Most of them are financial. Let us not discount the notion,
however, that their insistence of treating both their readers and the
subjects they cover like children who are incapable of forming opinions
on their own has a little to do with it too.

Has it not yet, at this late date, after all that has happened,
occurred to the L.A. Times that people like Manny Ramirez and are
willing, no, eager, to overlook his steroid suspension to watch him
play baseball?

UPDATE: It’s important to note that not everyone at
the L.A. Times feels this way. Jon Weisman of the wonderful Dodger
Thoughts blog has consistently delivered the win when it comes to Manny
Ramirez coverage, and his latest entry is no exception.
Note to whoever runs the Times’ sports section: Lead with Weisman and
relegate everyone else to sidebar links with six-point fonts.

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.