I know. I’m as shocked as you are. John Shea at the San Francisco Chronicle has the scoop:
Barry Bonds’ agent finally acknowledged Wednesday that the home run king is done playing baseball.
“It’s two years since he played his last game, and if there was any
chance he’d be back in a major-league uniform, it would have happened
by now,” agent Jeff Borris told The Chronicle.
There’s a certain brand of sabermetrically-inclined fan — many of whom are friends of mine — who think that Barry could still DH for someone if he was given a week or two in a batting cage. I’m extremely dubious of this, and was last year and even a good way back into 2008. Sure, he probably can still tell a ball from a strike better than anyone, but entropy is a bitch once you reach a certain age, and even the Great Barry Bonds’ baseball body is going to quickly decline without regular use. He probably should have broke camp as someone’s DH a couple of years ago, but I long gave up any hope that he’d don a uniform again.
The real question, of course, is the Hall of Fame. 2013 is his eligibility date. All things being equal he’d be a first ballot inductee. Of course all things aren’t equal with him. There’s some softening on the Mark McGwire’s of the world, but no one was the face of the Steroid Era like Barry Bonds was. He’s going to take the heat for that, likely delaying his induction for a good long while. This despite the fact that (a) there’s no evidence to suggest that he was deeper into PEDs to a greater degree than any other player of his era; and (b) he was likely a Hall of Famer before the turn of century and his association with BALCO.
If I had the franchise, I’d vote for him in a second. I’d expect, however, Barry won’t be getting into the Hall of Fame without a ticket until he’s an old man.
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.
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.