Andre Ethier is remarkably Zen about his future

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Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier has faced a lot of hardship this season. He hasn’t hit well, currently sitting on a .236 average with five home runs and a .681 OPS. Manager Don Mattingly was very critical of him in the media. Some upstart Cuban rookie, Yasiel Puig, is making him look small-time. And he is constantly being mentioned in trade rumors.

Despite all that, Ethier is taking it all in stride, which is admirable. Players in similar situations in the past have mutinied, demanding an exit. (Speaking of, have you heard the Miguel Olivo news?)

Via Dylan Hernandez in the L.A. Times:

Asked about his future, Ethier chuckled. “Look at the way guys are dropping around here,” he said. “They need as many bodies as they can have.”

[…]

But if Puig continues his ascent and the entire outfield is healthy, Ethier could be the odd man out.

“It’s not in your control,” Ethier said. “It’s nothing you can have a say about, except to go out there and play hard.”

Ethier also talked about observing Juan Pierre when he was a Dodger between 2007-09. Pierre took 729 trips to the plate in ’07, but as Ethier and Matt Kemp emerged, his playing time vanished, amassing only a combined 831 PA in ’08-09. Nevertheless, Ethier recalls, Pierre had a smile on his face, didn’t complain, and cheered on his teammates.

It’s true that the Dodgers massively overpaid Ethier when they gave him a five-year, $85 million extension last June. In the Dodgers’ rush to get rid of him, some team will be smart enough to grab him cheaply and utilize him as part of a platoon. He has a career .904 OPS against right-handed pitchers and .645 against lefties.

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.