While Jose Iglesias has been a pleasant surprise for the Red Sox this season, recently taking over the starting third base job from the demoted Will Middlebrooks, the club is on the lookout for other options. And they have one name at the top of their list.
George A. King III of the New York Post was told by an industry source that the Red Sox want Phillies third baseman Michael Young “badly.” With Kevin Youkilis potentially out for the season following back surgery and Alex Rodriguez a question mark following hip surgery and the uncertainty of the Biogenesis investigation, King speculates that the Yankees could also be a fit.
Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. has said on multiple occasions that he has no intention to be a seller, though things could obviously change if the team falls further out of the race in the next month. They’ll enter play today at 39-42 on the season, 7 1/2 games behind the Braves in the National League East and 6 1/2 games back for a Wild Card spot.
Young is batting .289/.348/.412 with five home runs and 21 RBI in 74 games with the Phillies this season. Acquired from the Rangers during the winter, the 36-year-old is still owed around $8 million for the rest of the season. He has a full no-trade clause, so he would have to sign off on a potential deal.
While Iglesias has received most of the playing time at third base for the Red Sox of late, he’s starting at shortstop today in place of Stephen Drew, who left last night’s game with hamstring tightness. The Red Sox called up Jonathan Diaz today as a stopgap option for the hot corner.
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.