White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper told Jim Bowden of XM Radio that Chris Sale will undergo an MRI exam on his sore left elbow.
Last week the White Sox cut short Sale’s transition to the rotation and moved him back to the bullpen as their new closer, with manager Robin Ventura saying he’d fill the ninth-inning role for the remainder of the season.
Sale made his first relief appearance of the season last night and blew his first save, although it was in the eighth inning and he entered the game with two runners on base and no outs.
Meanwhile, Cooper has indicated that Sale’s move to the bullpen is less set in stone than Ventura claims and Sale himself has repeatedly made it very clear that he’d rather be starting.
He reiterated that desire yesterday, telling Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times:
Starting is something I hope I can get back into. We’ve been kind of talking back and forth. There’s a possibility of it. Not ruling it out is the best way to say it.
Part of the issue is that Sale has had a sore arm and there are questions about his mechanics potentially making him likely to break down as a starter, but he went 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA and 29/8 K/BB ratio in five starts before the White Sox made the switch.
Toss in the fact that rookie Addison Reed looks more than capable of becoming the White Sox’s long-term answer at closer and giving Sale the opportunity to show that he can thrive as a full-time starter makes too much sense not to happen again eventually. Assuming, of course, that he doesn’t already have a major elbow injury.
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.