Rookie hurlers Cahill, Porcello having interesting seasons

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A’s rookie Trevor Cahill set a new team record for most home runs allowed at home by serving up his 20th bomb at the Oakland Coliseum last night. Cahill has allowed 20 homers in 100.2 innings at home, but just six homers in 57.2 innings on the road, which is odd given that Oakland’s ballpark typically suppresses power.
Cahill leads all rookies with 158.1 innings, but is just 8-12 with a 4.66 ERA and sub par 79/64 K/BB ratio as a 21-year-old. He’s also served up 26 total homers in 28 starts despite inducing the ninth-most ground balls in the league. One out of every seven fly balls hit against Cahill have gone over the fence, which is the third-worst rate in the AL ahead of only Josh Beckett and fellow rookie Rick Porcello.
And speaking of Porcello, he tossed seven strong innings yesterday for this 12th victory, becoming just the 13th pitcher in the last 50 years to win a dozen or more games as a 20-year-old. Dwight Gooden sits atop that list with an amazing, Cy Young-winning 1985 season that saw him go 24-5 with a 1.53 ERA, 268 strikeouts, .201 opponents’ batting average, 16 complete games, and eight shutouts. As a 20-year-old!
Porcello’s numbers obviously pale in comparison, but he’s been very solid with a 12-8 record and 4.18 ERA in 25 starts. He’s managed just 72 strikeouts in 135.2 innings, but has succeeded while pitching to contact because no pitcher in the league has induced as many ground balls. Porcello is at 56 percent grounders, and Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez, and Ricky Romero are the only other guys above 50 percent.

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.