Other ballplayers players to testify against Barry Bonds

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The judge in the Barry Bonds case is going to allow other ballplayers who worked with Greg Anderson to testify, with the idea that if they knew what they were taking, Bonds probably did too:

In a ruling filed Monday, Illston wrote that the athlete witnesses would provide evidence that “is relevant to the question of guilt or innocence in this case.” Prosecutors say those witnesses will testify that Anderson gave them performance-enhancing drugs, told them how to use those drugs and explained the efficacy of those substances. At the trial, the prosecutors plan to argue that Bonds, like Anderson’s other clients, was “not unwittingly duped into taking steroids.”

I tend to think that’s somewhat problematic in a guilt-by-association sense, but it’s coming in now and the cumulative effect of Anderson clients saying that they knew what as going down is going to be pretty bad for Bonds.  That is, unless the prosecution actually calls Benito Santiago, who testified thusly:

Santiago was asked, “Did he ever tell you that the things he was giving you were steroids or had steroidlike effects?” He answered no.

He was then asked: “So, I’m sorry I have to ask, you injected those items into your body, but didn’t know exactly what they were. Is that correct?”

He answered, “Believe it or not.”

Indeed, Bonds’ lawyers say that six of the seven ballplayers the prosecution is going to call testified at the grand jury that Anderson never specifically told them he was giving them steroids.

That said, we don’t have the totality of their testimony, so it’s hard to say what to think of this. It’s silly to think that the prosecution would fight hard to get these dudes on the stand if they truly said they were ignorant. It may be that Bonds’ lawyers are cherry-picking here and that the entirety of their testimony shows them to be hip to what was going down (“no, he never told me it was steroids, but I wasn’t born yesterday …”).  Obviously if these guys were saying exactly what Barry Bonds is saying, Bonds’ lawyers wouldn’t have tried to bar them from testifying.

I think the most interesting thing about all of this, however — and about the Clemens trial too — is the ballplayer vs. ballplayer dynamic. Hearing ballplayers talk one gets the sense that they would rather die than to throw another ballplayer under the bus, even if they hate the other ballplayer. Now they have little choice. I bet they make for some of the more nervous and uncomfortable witnesses around.

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.