We’ve known that Yankees backup catcher Francisco Cervelli has had some concussion-like symptoms since he was leveled at home plate by Nick Markakis in last Thursday’s game against the Orioles. But yesterday it was confirmed: dude has a concussion and he’s on the shelf indefinitely. Given that he has suffered at least two and possibly three concussions in the past couple of years, he could be out a really long time as recovery time tends to drag on a bit longer for each one.
That means that both Jesus Montero and Austin Romine — the two catching prospects who have basically spent all year in the minors — are likely to make the playoff roster. Montero as the DH/emergency catcher, Romine as the backup catcher. At least I would assume.
Joe Girardi is a former catcher of course, and there have been indications that he is way more concerned about defense behind the dish than your average manager (Mike Scioscia is like this too). Montero clearly has some issues back there. I’ve never seen Romine catch, but it’s been said that he’s competent but by no means spectacular. One wonders if this will impact Girardi’s decisions if, say, Russell Martin is a bit banged up. Or if Giardi is the kind of guy who would rather go with the devil he knows — Jorge Posada — rather than the devil he doesn’t in two young kids.
A major issue? Nah, because Cervelli really isn’t a very good baseball player. But the kind of thing that can have a fairly large impact due to the position involved and, more importantly, the psychology surrounding the position involved.
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.