UPDATE: David O’Brien now says that Jones will serve as the designated hitter for Class A Rome tonight and either DH or play third base tomorrow.
3:46 PM: Here’s a sudden and surprising change of plans. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Chipper Jones will begin a minor league rehab assignment tonight with Class A Rome. He’s scheduled to play third base over the next two days and if all goes well, he could be activated from the disabled list Monday.
I’m telling ya, this guy is a switch-hitting zombie. No other explanation.
2:03 PM: Chipper Jones was originally expected to begin a rehab assignment with Class A Rome on Thursday, but the Braves pushed back his timetable after he felt some soreness in his surgically-repaired knee while working out with Triple-A Gwinnett earlier this week.
Jones underwent surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his right knee just two weeks ago, so it’s difficult to call this a setback. Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the veteran third baseman will be reevaluated Monday with Tuesday the best-case scenario for him to begin a rehab assignment.
“It’s not like it’s a pulled hammy, it’s a surgically-repaired knee so,” said Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, who said he always figured Jones would need closer to three weeks’ recovery time. “I always thought closer to three than two. You’re talking about a 39-year-old knee that’s got a lot of innings in it.”
Jones is batting .259/.340/.428 with eight homers, 46 RBI and a .768 OPS over 329 plate appearances. Martin Prado will move back to left field once he’s ready to return from the disabled list.
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.