UDPATE: The group headed by Greenberg, under the moniker “Rangers Baseball Express,” has a deal in place to purchase the Rangers from Hicks. An official sale price was not announced, but a source told Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas that the price tag was under $570 million, which covers the team, the lease at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and approximately 153 acres of real estate around the park. Greenberg acknowledged the purchase in a statement:
“Nolan and I greatly appreciate Tom Hicks’ willingness to work beyond
the deadline to complete the deal and his support for passing the torch
from the Hicks family to our group. His actions speak eloquently to his commitment to serve the best
interests of Rangers fans and the community.“
The agreement won’t likely go into effect until March or Opening Day.
SATURDAY 1:41 pm: Tom Hicks, current owner of the Texas Rangers, is just about ready to hand the organization over to a new ownership group. Word comes from MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan that a deal could be reached as soon as this afternoon.
Hicks also owns the Dallas Stars and has a fifty percent stake in the English Premier League’s Liverpool Football Club, but he’s fallen on hard times recently due to the ongoing economic crisis in this country.
The new ownership group is headed by Chuck Greenberg, a sports attorney from Pittsburgh, and current club president Nolan Ryan. The Rangers, under Hicks, won back-to-back American League West division championships in 1998 and 1999 and posted an 87-75 record last season. With guys like Ian Kinsler, Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Neftali Feliz and Vladimir Guerrero in tow, they’re ready to compete for another division crown this year.
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.