The American League’s worst by position

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Just as the title says, I’m going position by position here to look for the AL’s weakest offensive situations to date. I’ll do the NL tomorrow.

Presented along with the team is the player most responsible.

Twins C – 390 (Drew Butera)
Twins 2B – 451 (Luke Hughes)
Mariners SS – 465 (Brendan Ryan)
Red Sox C – 472 (Jarrod Saltalamacchia)
White Sox 3B – 472 (Brent Morel)
Angels LF – 474 (Vernon Wells)
Rays SS – 483 (Reid Brignac)
Twins SS – 488 (Alexi Casilla)
Royals SS – 494 (Alcides Escobar)
Red Sox LF – 509 (Carl Crawford)
White Sox CF – 512 (Alex Rios)
Athletics 2B – 521 (Mark Ellis)
Tigers 3B – 529 (Brandon Inge)
Mariners 3B – 531 (Chone Figgins)
Blue Jays LF – 539 (Travis Snider)
Tigers CF – 543 (Austin Jackson)
Mariners C – 544 (Miguel Olivo)
Rays 1B – 564 (Dan Johnson)
Indians LF – 564 (Austin Kearns)
Orioles RF – 565 (Nick Markakis)
White Sox LF – 567 (Juan Pierre)
Twins LF – 577 (Delmon Young)
Blue Jays 2B – 577 (Aaron Hill)
Blue Jays 3B – 578 (Edwin Encarnacion)
Twins DH – 580 (Jim Thome)
Orioles 3B – 587 (Mark Reynolds)
Rays 3B – 600 (Felipe Lopez)
Rays C – 601 (John Jaso)
Mariners LF – 604 (Milton Bradley)
White Sox 2B – 607 (Gordon Beckham)
Yankees SS – 609 (Derek Jeter)
Twins 3B – 610 (Danny Valencia)
White Sox C – 617 (A.J. Pierzynski)
Athletics 3B – 625 (Kevin Kouzmanoff)
Athletics SS – 630 (Cliff Pennington)
Tigers SS – 631 (Jhonny Peralta)
Angels RF – 632 (Torii Hunter)
Angels C – 633 (Jeff Mathis)
White Sox SS – 636 (Alexei Ramirez)
Mariners CF – 636 (Ryan Langerhans)
Mariners DH – 640 (Jack Cust)
Royals 1B – 642 (Kila Ka’aihue)
Yankees RF – 646 (Nick Swisher)
Athletics RF – 646 (David DeJesus)
White Sox DH – 647 (Adam Dunn)

– The Rangers are the only team getting at least a 650 OPS out of every position to date. Their low mark is a 671 from center field.

– The White Sox, on the other hand, have seven positions list above: all of them except first base and right field. The Mariners and Twins both have six positons apiece.

– While the Yankees place two on the list, they do lead the AL in OPS at 808. The Rangers rank third at 781. Cleveland is second at 787.

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.