I guess it’s “meddling.” I mean, it is a situation in which the front office decided which pitcher would handle the day part of the yesterday’s doubleheader (Jose Fernandez) and which would handle the night (Ricky Nolasco). Not that it was capricious or anything. It was done in an effort to give Fernandez the start in warmer temperatures while pushing the veteran Nolasco to the evening hours.
But apparently it is tradition in doubleheader situations that the more senior pitcher usually gets to choose whether he wants the first game or the second. Nolasco wasn’t asked, however. What’s more, he was originally listed as the daytime starter and wasn’t notified that he was bumped late until a couple hours before game time. This ruffled some feathers, reports Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald:
“Not a smart move,” said a member of the Marlins’ uniformed contingent. “It’s a slap in the face to Ricky.”
After notching his first win of the season, it was clear Nolasco was biting his tongue.
“I’m not going to talk about that situation,” Nolasco said following only the Marlins’ fifth win of the season. “Still go to go out there and pitch, happy or not, whatever the situation is. You got to go out there and do my job. It wasn’t fun, but just grinded it out.”
Asked if he was unhappy about the late change, Nolasco replied: “No comment.”
I’ll take their word for it. Personally I had never before heard of this tradition. If it is something that’s done in baseball, however, and the Marlins ignored it, well, that’s the Marlins for you.
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.