The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is
running the second part of an interview with Chipper Jones. It’s not
quite as lengthy as the previous interview, but here’s a couple quick highlights:
- Despite his comments in the past
(“I’ll believe it when I see it.”), Jones believes Bobby Cox is “for
real” about stepping down as manager after 2010. Cox will still have an
imprint on the team as he will move into a consulting role, but Jones acknowledges that “it’s going to be culture shock” if
he decides to play in 2011, especially if the Braves hire someone he
has “played with or against.”
- Jones is proud of the fact that he
is the “last one standing” among the great 90s teams, and like Cal
Ripken and Tony Gwynn, has played his entire career in one city.
- Jones would be “OK with it” if his
career ended today, but the only thing that keeps him going is trying
to reclaim the National League East and go back to the World Series.
He’s encouraged with the direction of the team, especially
pitching-wise but notes that “we just need to get a little offense and
defense to go along with it.”
As David O’Brien notes at the end of
the piece, this interview was conducted two days before the Braves
traded Javier Vazquez for Melky Cabrera and a pair of prospects. Frank
Wren has taken some heat for the move, but in doing so, the Braves
added around $9 million in payroll flexibility. Wren has already Troy
Glaus to the lineup, and there are plenty of indications that he isn’t done.
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.