Things you may have missed while observing your seven year-old daughter silently putting the pieces together of the highly implausible Easter Bunny story but then — almost certainly — deciding not to tell you that she knows because she’s worried that if she does so there will be no more jelly beans for her:
- Tony La Russa fooled Dusty Baker. Eh, I don’t consider it much of a scam if it can be thwarted by the mark simply turning on a weather report.
- I sort of think this Jeff Wilpon story makes him seem funny and almost likable, but I can’t get past the fact that every picture I’ve ever seen of Wilpon makes him look like the smarmy secondary bad guy from some 80s movie. I’m thinking Paul Reiser in “Aliens.“
- Felipe Lopez is wearing out his welcome someplace? Why, I never.
- Neftali Feliz has shoulder inflammation and is on the DL. I was going to hold off judgment on this because it’s not like I have any medical knowledge or, really, any specialized knowledge about wear and tear on pitchers. I will note, however, that during last night’s Cards-Reds game, Orel Hershisher and Bobby Valentine both talked about how, pitch counts aside, a less durable arm may be better served as a starter than a reliever because it won’t be used as often in a starting role. This was in connection to Aroldis Chapman, but it makes me wonder if a set routine and less frequent outings may be a better call for Feliz.
- I’ve heard tell of this “Chase Utley,” but I figured he was more myth than man. Now some say we’ll see him come late May.
- Franklin Gutierrez has something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
- Dice-K continues to dominate. Last week I suggested this was a case of kidnapping or mistaken identity. Now I’m convinced that it’s more of a Robert-Johnson-at-the-Crossroads situation.
- Russell Martin is dominating too. With him I’m more inclined to believe that it’s just a matter of health, fitness, friendlier ballparks and a hot streak.
No, I’m not sure what Mookie’s stance is on Santa.
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.