It's time for the Red Sox to cut ties with David Ortiz

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David Ortiz strikeout.jpgAlready platooning with Mike Lowell because he can’t hit lefties, Big Papi is now seemingly unable to hit righties too.  His line last night was ugly:  0-for-4, with two strikeouts and two double plays. As I mentioned in this morning’s recaps, the second double play came with the game tied 1-1, the based juiced and no one out.  See the fail of it all here.

Ortiz now sits at .149/.240/.358.  And actually, he’s hitting worse against the righties than he is the lefties (.614 vs. 694 OPS, respectively).  He’s been atrocious with runners in scoring position (.356 OPS).  He has brought absolutely nothing to the table this season sans a butt in a roster slot that Mike Lowell’s excellent hitting — .317/.391/.512, including a pinch-hit RBI double soon after Papi’s DP — is making increasingly redundant.

At least his teammates have his back. Here’s Dustin Pedroia:

“David’s fine. He’s one of our teammates. It could’ve
been me that hit into a double play. It happens to everybody, man. He’s
had 60 at-bats. A couple of years ago, I was hitting .170 and everyone
was ready to kill me too. What happened? Laser show so relax. I’m tired
of looking at the NESN poll, ‘Why is David struggling?’ David’s fine.
He’s one of our teammates. We believe in him. He came out of it last
year, he’s going to come out of it this year.”

Pedroia is probably referring to 2007, when he was in the .170s at about this point of the season. Of course he was also 23 years-old at the time, was making the league minimum, was not expected to carry much of the Red Sox’ offensive load, had defensive value and turned it around to earn Rookie of the Year honors.  Not exactly the same situation.

Pedroia is right about the fact that Ortiz did come out of it last year.  But is that something the Red Sox can count on again this year? And even if it is, is it something for which they can afford to wait?

If I’m Theo Epstein I thank David Ortiz for his service but send him off on an ice floe or a burning viking ship or whatever it is you do with old DHs who can’t cut it anymore. Harsh? Maybe. But the AL East is pretty harsh too, and the Red Sox stand 6.5 games behind a couple of teams who show no signs of slowing down.

Something has to be done.  David Ortiz has got to go.

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.