False Alarm: Bob Brenly NOT close to agreeing to be the Brewers next manager

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UPDATE:  The skepticism was warranted. Brewers GM Doug Melvin just shots down the Brenly rumor, saying “Unless somebody else has been doing the hiring process, that’s not true.”

11:30: A.M.  I slapped the “rumor” tag on the headline because if we were tallying “rumors that ended up being totally wrong” by media sector, radio guys would have a commanding lead.

With that disclaimer out of the way, Doug Russell of WSSP in Milwaukee is reporting that Bob Brenly is close to accepting an offer from the Brewers to be the club’s new manager. Brenly’s response is that he “has nothing to say right now.”

Brenly has a World Series ring, but he’s been out of the managing game since being let go by the Dbacks following the 2004.  He’s been broadcasting Cubs games since then.

He was reportedly in the running to manage the Brewers the last time the job was open prior to the 2009 season, but that obviously didn’t happen. The relationship he developed with Brewers brass during that go-around would likely explain why we hadn’t heard rumors about him replacing Ken Macha before now. No need for big interviews. Less opportunity for leaks.

I don’t know that Brenly would be the most inspiring choice, but for a team that has gone through firebrands like Ken Macha and Ned Yost in recent years, this is Milwaukee equivalent of hiring Dock Ellis or Bill Lee or someone like that.

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.