UPDATE: Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that Domonic Brown has a fractured hook of the hamate bone in his right hand. Unbelievable.
Surgery is likely, according to David Hale of the News Journal, and would likely sideline him for 3-to-6 weeks. In other words, Ben Francisco is your Opening Day right fielder.
4:17 PM: Domonic Brown isn’t having the best luck this spring.
After going hitless over his first 15 spring training at-bats, Brown hit a clean single up in the middle in the second inning of this afternoon’s game against the Pirates. However, in the next half inning, John Mayberry Jr. came out to play right field while Brown headed back to the clubhouse with Phillies head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan.
Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer mentioned that Brown fouled off a pitch during his at-bat in the second inning and looked down at his hand. It was just speculation at the time, but it turns out he was dead-on. According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, Brown is having an X-ray on his right hand.
Many expected the top prospect to grab a hold of the right field job during exhibition action, but just about everything has gone wrong for Brown so far. On the bright side, Ben Francisco had another great day with the bat today, going 2-for-3 with a home run, a double and two runs scored. He’s batting .421 (8-for-19) with two home runs and six RBI over his first six Grapefruit League games.
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.