Based on today’s report from MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, it’s pretty clear that the Braves are going to make one more move before the trade deadline, in all likelihood for an outfielder:
When McLouth was sidelined on June 9 with a concussion, he was hitting
just .176 with a .295 on-base percentage. In the seven rehab games he
played for Triple-A Gwinnett, the former All-Star outfielder recorded
eight hits (seven singles and one homer) in 31 at-bats.
“I think we have to be open,” Wren said. “We still have to be in that
mode of evaluating and seeing what opportunities there are. At the same
time, we need to figure out what’s the biggest thing we need.
“I just don’t know yet. That’s not being evasive. I just think we need
to let this play out a little bit.”
As Wren narrows his focus on the trade market, he and his scouts are
evaluating players who could improve his club while playing either left
field or center field. Some of the players they have evaluated include
Kansas City’s David DeJesus, Florida’s Cody Ross, Milwaukee’s Corey Hart
and Washington’s Josh Willingham.
I can’t recall a contending team with an outfield as poor as Atlanta’s is right now, and that’s even if Nate McClouth comes back with some improvement over his pre-concussion performance. And as long the names Frank Wren is considering are limited to the likes of DeJesus, Ross, Hart and Willingham — and don’t include names like “Jose Guillen” — Atlanta has a good chance of upgrading the outfield at some point in the next few days.
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.