Bobby Valentine isn’t exactly going to rule with an iron fist

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Given how the Red Sox fell apart late last season under the light touch of nice-guy manager Terry Francona, it would be natural to assume that Bobby Valentine would come in wearing steel-toed boots, ready to stomp on any player who even thinks about calling Colonel Sanders.

That assumption would be wrong. From the sound of things, Valentine isn’t going to be like that at all. In fact, the new Boston manager is going to leave the players alone to police themselves. Surprised?

In an interview on the MLB Network, Bob Costas asks Valentine if something similar to what happened last season could repeat itself under his watch.

“I certainly hope not,” Valentine said. “And I hope that it’s not because the big bad policeman’s standing on the corner and monitoring everything that’s going on. I hope it’s a conscious effort of players, coaches, clubhouse men, trainers all being on the same page, all understanding the difference between right and wrong. And I think they all know.”

So basically, Valentine is going to treat the players like adults, which sounds scary on the surface. He’s going to let ownership and GM Ben Cherrington warn the players at the start of the season that past behaviors won’t be tolerated, then step in as the new guy and do his thing.

It might actually be the correct way to handle a veteran team, but given that Valentine oversaw a Mets team that was involved in plenty of clubhouse shenanigans, it’s got to be a bit disquieting for Red Sox fans.

You can watch a clip of the interview here, and Art Martone of CSN New England has several more goodies from the interview here, including Valentine’s take on the infamous mustache he wore in the dugout after being ejected from a game in 1999. (He blames Robin Ventura). Good stuff.

You can follow Bob on Twitter here, or if Facebook is your thing, be his friend here.

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.