Potential candidates to replace Bud Selig

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The other day I noted that there was no clear successor to Bud Selig when he steps down at the end of 2012.  From my lips to Maury Brown’s keyboard, for today he runs down some of the possibilities over at The Biz of Baseball.

None of the candidates Maury mentions are bad. Sandy Alderson and Stan Kasten are smart guys and smart is good. Rob Manfred has been in the trenches and that works. While the idea of Andy MacPhail troubles me a bit inasmuch as no one would probably be talking too seriously about him if he didn’t come from a family line of executives, he has been in the sorts of jobs that would give him experience here. A legacy-saved, let’s call him.

Ultimately, though, brains aren’t going to trump everything. Or even be the most important thing. Not saying Selig isn’t smart — he is — but his biggest skill is in consensus building among the ownership group. It’s what allows him to basically do anything he wants. Making the owners mad is what causes coups. Coups like the one that brought Selig into power in the first place.

Which makes me wonder if another current owner isn’t the most likely replacement. Someone who saw that Selig moved on from the Brewers, made a tidy profit on his team and then made a healthy freakin’ salary for nearly 20 years on top of it, all the while transforming his legacy from used car salesman to one of the preeminent sports executives of all time.

Whatever happens, it will be fun to watch.

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.