UPDATE: Pirates close to deal for D-Backs' Chris Snyder

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UPDATE: Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic hears that the Diamondbacks are “close” to trading Chris Snyder to the Pirates. In fact, according to Piecoro, it sounds like the only thing standing in the way of a deal is approval from the commissioner’s office.

Piecoro is not sure of the players the D-Backs will receive in return or how much of Snyder’s remaining salary the team will cover.

9:48 PM, Friday: Major league sources tell Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com that the Pirates are in talks with the Diamondbacks to acquire catcher Chris Snyder.

Snyder, 29, is batting .231/.352/.426 with 10 homers and 32 RBI over 195 at-bats with the Diamondbacks this season. He is making $4.75 million this season and $5.75 million in 2011. His contract contains a $6.75 million club option for 2012 or a $750,000 buyout.

The Diamondbacks have been attempting to shed his contract for quite a while now, but concerns about his back have scared a number of teams away. He has proved durable this season, even when Miguel Montero was on the disabled list after knee surgery, however the D-Backs would almost certainly have to cover some of the contract.

The trade would obviously be bad news for incumbent catcher Ryan Doumit, who is currently on the disabled list with a concussion. Either catcher would likely only be a placeholder until last year’s No. 1 pick Tony Sanchez is ready for the major leagues. Sanchez, 22, underwent jaw surgery earlier this month and could miss the rest of the season.

 

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.