Thanks again, HBT readers!

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With the trade deadline in our rear view mirror, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank the citizens of the HBT Multiverse* for clicking in and reading us as the rumors went wild and the news nuggets flew these past couple of weeks.

Traffic was through the roof in July. That’s nice, but even nicer is that there has been a nice steady climb in readership of the blog each month since the day we started it last year.  That means that you’re not only showing up for the big news and transactions, but that you’re sticking around for the highs and lows of the baseball season too. We’re glad you’ve come and we’re glad you’ve stayed.

I know the redesign was rocky and at times annoying and I know that no one needs to see my pasty mug on video six times a week, but through all that adversity, you folks have remained loyal and — more importantly — haven’t stopped giving us the business in the comments when we’ve needed it.  We view this blog as a conversation, and we’re happy you’re talking back.

We’re pumped as hell for the pennant races to start sizzling this month and next, and from the playoffs through the winter meetings and on into next spring we’re going to keep it rockin’ like Dokken for you.

In the meantime, never hesitate to click the little “tip/feedback” button to the left to tell us what you’re hearing, what you like, what you hate and anything and everything else you can think of short of requests to help you “liberate certain funds that are on deposit with the Central Bank of Nigeria.” Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us. Fool us three, four and five times, well, that was Gleeman’s fault. He thought we were due.

I lost my train of thought.  So let me just explain — wait, that would take too long, so let me sum up — by saying, once again, thanks!

*Take that Yankees and Red Sox. You can have your puny universes and nations.

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.