Joe Girardi contemplates a change in uniform number

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Girardi famously selected number 27 to serve as championship inspiration when he was hired last year. Yesterday he said that he may make a move to 28:

That’s something I talked to Brian Cashman briefly about today. I think I will. I’ve got to talk to Shelley Duncan to see if he allows me to wear it.”

It’s cute that anyone cares what Shelley Duncan thinks in all of this.  More to the point, however, Girardi should probably ask whoever speaks for Sparky Lyle, Spud Chandler, Charlie Keller, Al Leiter, Tommy Byrne, David Justice, Melky Cabrera and Chad Curtis, all of whom have a stronger claim on the number than does Duncan. If the Yankees repeat and Girardi wants to change again, he’ll have to go through Mike Stanton and the estate of Catfish Hunter for number 29.  Willie Randoph checks in at 30 and Dave Winfield at 31.

It’s all a matter of negotiation until he gets to 32. That was Elston Howard, and his number is retired, so there’s probably not a chance of him taking it.  Of course if the Yankees win four more titles before Girardi is done managing he’ll have the juice to demand just about anything he wants. Not that it will matter. If that happens every non Yankee fan in the world will have killed himself by then, and baseball will probably cease to be.

(thanks to Bronx Banter for the historical Yankee uniform numbers).

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.