UPDATE: Carlos Zambrano suspended indefinitely

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UPDATE: According to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, the Cubs have suspended Carlos Zambrano indefinitely for his actions during Friday’s game.

“His conduct was not acceptable,” Cubs general
manager Jim Hendry said. “It has become a bit of a tired act.”

According to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, Hendry said, “We’ll play with
24 before we tolerate that behavior.”

Wow.

Zambrano was sent home by Cubs manager Lou Piniella, who called the whole incident “embarrassing” during a post-game press conference. Speaking of embarrassing, Big Z reportedly jawed at some cameramen on the way out of the stadium, according to Sullivan. Film at 11!

Oh, and just a reminder, Zambrano is in the third year of a five-year, $91.5 million contract. Fun.

5:05 PM: Today’s starter Carlos Zambrano went nuts during the first inning of today’s Cubs-White
Sox game, after which he was removed from the game by Lou Piniella and asked to
leave the ballpark.

The details: The first batter he faced was
Juan Pierre, who doubled down the first base line. Zambrano then gave up
another double, a single and a three-run home run to Carlos Quentin,
and ended the inning behind 4-0.  Once he got back to the dugout he got
up in Derrek Lee’s face, obviously jawing at him over his failure to
field Pierre’s hit before it made it down the line.

And he might have had a point. I’m not watching the game, but those
who are say that the ball was probably playable for Lee.  But if
Zambrano had any moral high ground on that point he lost it the second
he decided to yell at rather than talk to Lee, and then when he decided
to smash the Gatorade cooler and throw water on the field.  That was
enough for Piniella, obviously, who replaced Zambrano with Tom
Gorzelanny. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about this one after the game.

Just another day at the ballpark for Big Z.  Just another summer of
dealing with a freakin’ head case for the Chicago Cubs. 

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.