Doug Smith does not like bikini-clad women at the ballpark

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I’m not a big fan of big, garish entertainment at baseball games that distract from the action on the field. Give me the diamond, the sounds of the game, the smell of beer and grilling meat and maybe a little organ music and I’m good to go.

In light of that, why do I read Doug Smith’s grousing about the scene at the Marlins’ new ballpark and find myself siding with the swimming pools, DJ and bikini girls?

Not sure if was the bikini-clad women – plants by the franchise, obviously – prancing around or the costumed dancers up on the stage or the body-painting going on for the almost the duration of the game or the swimming pool but I saw baseball like I’ve never seen baseball before last night and you can have it.

Yeah, we made a trek to the new Marlins Stadium – a refurbished Orange Bowl – for a night among the people on Monday and it was one of the weirdest experiences of my life … It was, frankly, as far removed from baseball as you can imagine and I am old and a bit cranky and a bit of a traditionalist so if this is the new wave of the baseball stadium “experience” in order to attract fans, you can have it.

It must be serious if he felt obligated to say “you can have it” twice.

Eh, he’s right in the merits. I guess it’s a context thing for me, though. It’s Miami. It’s not like there was some old Tiger Stadium, Yankee Stadium or what have you that has been replaced by the glitz and silliness. It defines the place way more than a classic, dark-green seat and tinkling organ music ballpark ever would so, in its own way, it’s authentic.

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.