Interesting story over at the Globe about Pete Mackanin’s day interviewing for the Red Sox managerial job yesterday.
If you’re unaware of Mackanin’s history — current bench coach for the Phillies, former interim manager for Cincy and Pittsburgh, and loooong time minor league manager and coach — it’s worth a read just for that. Sounds like an interesting dude who, in a just world, would have gotten a shot before now. Plus he’s a natty dresser and rocks the silver fox look like a boss.
I was struck midway through the article when it said that he spent nine hours — nine! — at Fenway with the brass. On what planet do job interviews last nine hours? At the law firm we’d put candidates through a good six hours including lunch and that was for someone who we really didn’t know from Adam. Professionally speaking Mackanin’s past is well-known to the Sox. This is all cut-of-his-jib stuff. I suppose the job is a tad more important than that of a paper-pushing baby lawyer, so I get it.
But what do you do in a nine hour interview? This kind of thing:
Mackanin’s interview included a test of his managerial acumen as he was presented with tricky in-game scenarios and asked how he would handle them.
“It’s like I was laboratory-tested by the Boston Red Sox,’’ he said. “It’s kind of an interesting little scenario they put you through, going over strategy in games. A lot of good questions, a lot of different questions, a lot of outside-the-box questions, a lot of inside-the-box questions.’’
One would hope and assume that every team does this sort of thing. Of course, if so, then one would have to explain how certain managers got their jobs.
That snark notwithstanding, I think it would be interesting to put smarty pants bloggers, tweeters and mid-game manager second guessers through that kind of little exercise. I’m guessing we’d have way more trouble with it than even the worst real manager at whom we’ve ever snarked.
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.