First batch of September call-ups includes Giambi

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Teams will be calling up players throughout the day as rosters expand to 40 spots, so keep an eye on Rotoworld’s player news page for all the latest transactions.
Along with the Brewers bringing back J.J. Hardy once his service time was sufficiently suppressed, here are some of the other noteworthy early moves:
* As expected, Jason Giambi has joined the Rockies’ bench after signing a minor-league contract last week. He went 8-for-18 with two homers in a brief stay at Triple-A and will fill the same pinch-hitting role that the Dodgers have in store for Jim Thome.
* Tim Hudson was activated from the 60-day disabled list and will make his season debut tonight against the Marlins, facing big-league hitters for the first time since undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery 12 months ago.
* Brandon Wood is back with the Angels and will no doubt take his usual seat on the bench after hitting .293/.353/.557 with 22 homers in 99 games at Triple-A. He’ll be joined by homerless wonder Reggie Willits and catcher Bobby Wilson, who reportedly might end up as the player to be named later in the Scott Kazmir trade.
* Speaking Kazmir, his old rotation spot in Tampa Bay now belongs to Andy Sonnanstine, who’s back with the Rays after a two-month demotion to Triple-A. Sonnanstine had a 6.61 ERA in 15 starts with the Rays and then posted a 4.40 ERA in nine starts at Durham, so things could get ugly tonight against the Red Sox.
* Acquired from the Orioles for a PTBNL or cash last week, Joey Gathright will be the Red Sox’s pinch-runner and defensive replacement down the stretch. Gathright isn’t much of a hitter with a career .262/.327/.303 line, but he’s one of the fastest players in baseball, has tons of range in the outfield, and will prove to be a major asset if the Red Sox ever need someone to jump over a car.

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.