When you get a $100 million contract "the first year is the most difficult"

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That quote comes from Vernon Wells. And yeah, I’m sure it’s an absolute drag.

OK, that’s a bit of a cheap shot, inasmuch as Wells was likely asked specifically about the pressure ballplayers face after getting huge deals, not the difficulty of life at large, but it is the kind of quote that turns your head a bit.

It comes in what is actually a pretty interesting article about guys in the $100 million club, most specifically Matt Holliday, who is adjusting to what must me a strange new world this year.  The best part: Scott Boras likes to have a “talk” with his big money guys after their first season as $100 million men is underway:

Boras called it the
“post-contract conversation” and he described how it’s impossible
to have it before a season starts or even in the opening weeks. It
takes a player experiencing the new reality of a big contract for
him to understand how to react.
“I usually let them get four weeks, five weeks into the season
and then we have the conversation,” Boras said. “There is no way to
prepare an athlete for this because so few athletes ever get there.

I don’t have pity for the $100 million men, but anyone who is thrust into a new world like that has to lose their gravity for a while, and losing one’s gravity isn’t pleasant, even if it is in comfortable circumstances.

Still, I would love to be a fly on the wall for that conversation.  I imagine
it would be much like listening to Chinese or Klingon or something it’s
so far from our normal frame of reference.

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.