Yesterday Jeff Passan reported that, contrary to our assumptions, Zack Greinke is indeed willing to pitch in New York, and that winning is more important to him than avoiding media scrutiny and crowds and stuff. George King reports this morning, however, that the Yankees “aren’t buying it,” and that they believe Greinke truly doesn’t want to pitch in New York.
Deep thought: has anyone asked Greinke whether he’d be fine with it? Because that might be helpful.
I’ve said it before, but let me say it again: our speculation about what Zack Greinke may or may not be able to handle in light of his anxiety disorder is ignorant, silly and in some ways irresponsible. We don’t know for certain that it is triggered by crowds or press or scrutiny. Perhaps it’s triggered by negativity, competitive setbacks and the sense that all of the weight of the world is on him. If that were the case, wouldn’t Kansas City be a worse place for him to be than New York? At least there would be a decent assurance that he’d win with the Yankees, and with all of the other star power on the team the focus on him would be less rather than greater. Ask Nick Swisher how he’s doing these days.
And all of that could be baloney too. The point is that the only ones who know for certain about whether Greinke wants to be in New York and whether his anxiety issues would be triggered by playing there are Zack Greinke and his doctor. To suggest we know better is to suggest that we know the first thing about how anxiety disorder really works and how it’s operating in a specific patient. I think I know a lot of stuff, but I don’t believe I know that. Do you?
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.