Notes from Tuesday's moves and callups

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– The White Sox brought up both Tyler Flowers and Josh Fields to help fill the void left by Jim Thome’s departure. Fields’ return was never in doubt, but he may not see as much playing time as expected if the White Sox want to see if Flowers is ready to hit in the majors. Flowers, a product of the Javier Vazquez deal with the Braves, batted .302/.445/.548 in 248 at-bats with Double-A Birmingham and .286/.364/.438 in 105 at-bats following a move up to Triple-A Charlotte. His defense behind the plate is subpar, so it’s possible that he’ll end up being a long-term first baseman or DH. The White Sox, though, intend to continue developing him as a catcher.
– The Marlins didn’t wait until the end of the minor league season to bring back Cameron Maybin, their Opening Day center fielder. He hit .319/.399/.463 in 298 at-bats for Triple-A New Orleans, and it’s likely that he would have returned more than a month ago if the penny-pinching Marlins weren’t trying to keep him from eventually becoming a super-two player. The Marlins figure to start him against every left-hander and at least the occasional right-hander. He seemed in line for more playing time before Jeremy Hermida bounced back and hit .312/.413/.442 during August.
– To open up a 40-man roster spot, the Rangers designated Thomas Diamond for assignment. Diamond, the 10th overall pick in the 2004 draft, was shaping up as a fine prospect before blowing out his elbow in the spring of 2007. He missed the season following Tommy John surgery and hadn’t returned to form in two years since. This season, he had a 4.20 ERA and a 58/44 K/BB in 55 2/3 innings as a reliever between Double- and Triple-A.
– As Aaron wrote earlier, both Sean Rodriguez and Kevin Mulvey were included in trades Monday. I just wanted to bring it up again as an illustration of the point I made last week when the Yankees temporarily blocked Boston’s move of Chris Carter to the Mets by claiming the outfielder on waivers.
There were seven AL teams that could have interfered with Rodriguez going to the Rays. There were 13 AL teams and five NL teams that could have blocked the move of Mulvey to the Diamondbacks. Not one of them did, even though those two players wouldn’t have gotten past any teams had they been on irrevocable waivers.

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.