Just when it seemed like things couldn’t get any worse for Jason Bay in New York, he’s gone 0-for-20 without an RBI in six games this month. Hitless in 23 at-bats overall, he’s now down to .207/.307/.279 in 140 at-bats for the season.
Because Bay missed the first three weeks of the season with a strained oblique, he’s a little shy of qualifying for the batting title at the moment. However, if he did, he’d rank 164th of 171 players in average and 167th in slugging ahead of only Alcides Escobar, Chone Figgins, Miguel Tejada and Daric Barton.
The slump now likely qualifies as the worst of his career. He had a lousy second half of 2007 for the Pirates and finished that year at .247/.327/.418. Still, he hit 21 homers. In 2009, he had a terrible month and a half with the Red Sox, hitting .185 with three homers in a span of 124 at-bats. But this one has outlasted that one.
The Mets would appear to have little choice other than to stick with him and hope for the best. Bay is owed another $35 million after this year and has a full no-trade clause. With the suspicion being that he’s never truly recovered from last season’s concussion, it’s hard to imagine any team taking on a substantial portion of that salary.
There’s also no obvious bad contract to try and pair him with. Maybe Figgins in Seattle, but Figgins is guaranteed a relatively paltry $17 million after this year. A healthy Bay would look like a great fit as a right-handed hitter to stick in between Joey Votto and Jay Bruce in Cincinnati, but it’s hard to imagine the Reds having interest with things as is.
The Mets will either have to keep playing Bay or make up an injury for him so that they can send him on a rehab assignment for a week or two. Tonight, though, it’s Jason Pridie in left field and Bay on the bench.
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.