Baseball in Orlando?

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WFTV in Orlando reports that an exploratory committee has been formed with the purpose of enticing a team to relocate to central Florida. That’s not necessarily significant — I’ve formed a dozen exploratory committees in my life, most dealing with either bringing back “Mystery Science Theater 3000” and/or getting Todd Rundgren inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — but we’ll take it as news seeing as though we’re stuck in the horse latitudes of the baseball offseason.

Though any relocation is highly unlikely, you have to figure that there are really only two candidates who are even remotely likely to move: The Rays and the Athletics. The Rays would make the most sense inasmuch as they, you know, play right down the street from Orlando, have played a handful of regular season games in Orlando already and don’t yet have their stadium crap in order.  The A’s are far less likely, but assuming they don’t make San Jose work they’ll have to go somewhere.  It won’t happen, but the chances are technically not zero.

Which makes the sole candidate identified by reporter in the piece kind of nuts:  The Brewers. You know, the team with a big new stadium in Wisconsin? The team that has drawn over 3 million fans the past couple of seasons? The team with a clause in its stadium deal that assesses a gigantic financial penalty if they move? The team that was once owned by the Commissioner of Baseball — a man who rose from used car dealer to multi-millionaire sports mogul on the power of bringing baseball back to Milwaukee after the Braves left in the 1960s —  and is located in his home town? The team who laughed off the report as “beyond hilarious”?

That’s some sharp reporting there, Skip.

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.